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Greyhound service cuts: slim majority backs government-run rural bus services

As the nation’s premiers – led by B.C.’s John Horgan and Alberta’s Rachel Notley, both who recently expanded rural transportation pilot programs – call for a national response to the impending loss of long-distance bus service in Western Canada and parts of northern Ontario, a new public opinion poll suggests Canadians are looking to government for a solution.

The study, conducted by the Angus Reid Institute, finds six-in-ten Canadians (60%) expressing support for a rural bus service funded by the federal government, and slightly more (64%) supporting a provincially funded service.

This support for government intervention on rural transportation comes not only from frequent users of Greyhound Canada’s bus services, but also from those who have been on a Greyhound bus.

That said, though most Canadians support federal or provincial funding of rural bus service, many are hoping it doesn’t come to that. More than four-in-ten say it shouldn’t be up to government to fill in the gaps in service, and that private companies will do so if there is sufficient demand.

More Key Findings:

  • Asked to choose between two opposing philosophical statements, a majority of Canadians (56%) say “government should step in to maintain rural and northern bus services, they are vital to communities,” rather than “it should not be up to government to maintain these services, private businesses can fill the gaps if there is enough demand” (44%)
  • Though Canadians are broadly supportive of government intervention on rural bus service, very few (only 5%) expect to be personally affected by Greyhound’s decision
  • Slightly more than half of all Canadian adults (54%) have ridden a Greyhound bus in their lives, with those living in Western Canada – who stand to be most affected by the company’s withdrawal from their provinces – more likely than Eastern Canadians to have ridden one

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