PRINCE GEORGE (NEWS 1130) — Four months after making a request to the B.C. Transportation Board to drop several routes, Greyhound Canada believes it has the solution to save inter-city bus service in rural areas.
The transportation provider is asking the B.C. government to create what it calls a Connecting Communities Fund.
“We’re drawing this directly from the U.S., where Greyhound does draw from this type of funding,” says Peter Hamil, Greyhound V.P. for Western Canada.
“The federal government allocates a certain portion of their transportation funding to rural communities. The issue here is there is no specific rural community fund.”
Hamil says they are not looking for a direct subsidy, adding that the transportation company might not even benefit from their request.
The fund would be made available to Municipalities and First Nations to seek bids from different transportation providers for inter-city routes.
“This is a general funding model that we believe is something that has to be done in order to make rural transportation sustainable,” says Hamil.
Greyhound has faced challenges in recent years, with diminishing ridership, escalating costs and the challenge of competing against government-subsidized fares. Greyhound has filed an application with the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board to eliminate service on five routes in British Columbia that have experienced a 51 per cent reduction.
Hamil says provincial and federal governments spend billions on urban transit services and B.C.’s rural communities deserve transportation investments too.