Regional District of Fraser-Fort George board chair Art Kaehn says the board is disappointed in the Passenger Transportation Board’s decision to allow Greyhound to discontinue service in northern B.C.
“While we understand and respect the thoroughness the Passenger Transportation Board exercised when reviewing this application, we cannot help but be disappointed with this outcome,” Kaehn said. “The availability of bus service is something that many northern residents rely on in order to access medical appointments, education courses and workshops and other personal business. For many, travel in the winter months is impossible without this service.”
The Passenger Transportation Board announced earlier today that it has approved Greyhound’s application to stop serving communities in northern B.C. by the beginning of June. It has approved the elimination of run from Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson, Fort Nelson to the Yukon border, Dawson Creek to Prince George, Prince George to Fort St. James, Prince Rupert to Prince George and from Prince George to the Alberta border. In addition, the Prince George to Vancouver can be reduced to four trips a week, two in each direction.
“We are afraid this decision leaves many within our region without other viable transportation and furthers the isolation and lack of services available for our rural residents,” Kaehn said. “We respect the decision of the Passenger Transportation Board, but remain hopeful that Greyhound Canada or another provider will one day soon see the return of passenger bus service as a business viability.”
Meanwhile Liberal MLAs across the North have condemned the provincial government for not taking more action to preserve service.
“The cancellation of Greyhound’s bus service in northern B.C. has left an entire region of the province with very few safe travel options,” said Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond. “This is disappointing news for many of my constituents who need this bus service. It is imperative that there be immediate action to find safe, reliable transportation that northern residents deserve.”
The Liberal government, in conjunction with northern communities, instituted a shuttle service between many northern communities. It’s a service that the NDP government has continued with more routes coming on stream since the NDP took office last year. The shuttle service is one of the reasons Greyhound wanted out, saying it was impacting its bottom line in the North.
“This is devastating to residents – particularly Indigenous communities and seniors – who rely on this service to get to their destinations safely,” said Nechako Lakes MLA John Rustad of the Passenger Transportation Board’s decision. “The NDP government likes to talk about how much they care, yet they can’t deliver real solutions when it comes time to take action. This is a troubling trend.”
Transportation Minister Clare Trevena said she will be speaking to elected officials, First Nations and others affected by Greyhound’s upcoming service changes and that the ministry will be working with Greyhound to ensure buses remain running as it works with communities to develop long-term, viable solutions that address people’s needs.
“The Transportation Minister has had months to work with the B.C. Transportation Board to find a solution to this,” said Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. “Greyhound announced its intention to apply to cancel service back in September and it is deeply concerning the Minister chose to do nothing to prepare for this outcome.”