VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Western’s Canada’s transportation ministers say they will be looking to the federal government for assistance, following a meeting to talk about Greyhound’s decision to withdraw service.
In a statement, BC Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena says talks were “positive and productive.”
“We recognize Greyhound’s surprise withdrawal will leave people with limited options to get around,” she says. “Greyhound’s 90-day deadline for service withdrawal is extremely short for alternatives to be developed. We have agreed to write to the federal minister of transport to advocate for all Canadians who need access to safe, reliable and affordable transportation.”
The bus company says it’s ending passenger and freight services in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba at the end of October, and will also be cancelling all but one route in BC — a US-run service between Vancouver and Seattle.
“My staff have been in close contact with their federal counterparts to advocate for British Columbians who will lose bus service, and I have asked them to continue to work together,” Trevena adds. She says she hopes local operators see this as an opportunity, and adds the Passenger Transportation Board will be looking at making inter-city bus applications that plan to replace Greyhound services a priority.
First Nations leader wants federal government to step in
Meantime, a First Nations leader is calling on the government to do something to ensure people can get around.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says in many ways these buses really are an essential service.
He points out that people in many rural communities use Greyhound to get around.
“In the countryside, many of our communities are remote. The Greyhound bus service for many, many generations has served as the principle mode of transportation for our people.”
From travelling to get treatment that isn’t available in small towns, to simply visiting loved ones, Grand Chief Phillip says the provinces need to figure out some sort of a solution to this issue.
“Well I think if the Government of Canada can squander $4.5 billion for dirty oil pipelines, they certainly can subsidize a service that has proven to be essential to so many Canadians.”