Greyhound can expect a bumpy road ahead if it pursues its plans to kill off five passenger routes in the north.
Last week during the Union of B.C. Municipalities Convention in Vancouver, the delegates voted in favour of a motion put forward by Prince George city council that urges the passenger transportation board to reject Greyhound’s application. One of the most contentious aspects of the companies plan is to halt passenger service along the highway 16 corridor. During three days of sitting by the National Inquiry into Murdered and Missing Women in Smithers last week, the issue of highway transportation was high on the agenda and played a large part in the stories that were related to the commissioners.
The motion asked that the company put people ahead of parcels. That line is in reference to the company announcing while passenger service would end, parcel delivery would continue uninterrupted. While the company wants to halt service on 9 routes province-wide the motion only dealt with four routes in the north.
Prince George councillor Brian Skakun, who presented the motion in Vancouver, pointed out Greyhound bus service for many people is the only mode of transportation and if that service is withdrawn more and more people will feel isolated, vulnerable and in the end will result in people having to resort to hitchhiking.
Greyhound Canada says fewer passengers, competition and increasing operating costs are to blame for the cancellation plan. Despite the outcry over the cancellation proposal, Greyhound Canada says they will pursue their application. Peter Hamel Regional Vice President says he was invited to meet with municipal representatives at the conclusion of the convention to explain the rationale for the cancellations.
Hamel noted all levels of government are involved in working to find a solution to the transportation challenges.
The Passenger Transportation Board is accepting public submissions until October 13th.