Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Private Operators to Pick Up Many of B.C.'S Greyhound Routes, but Gaps Remain

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Private Operators to Pick Up Many of B.C.'S Greyhound Routes, but Gaps Remain

Article excerpt

Private lines pick up some B.C. Greyhound routes

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VICTORIA - A patchwork of transportation service is being stitched together across British Columbia as Greyhound pulls its buses out of Western Canada, but some holes still remain in rural areas, says Transportation Minister Claire Trevena.

Private operators are moving to provide service to much of the province following Greyhound's decision, she said.

So far, 83 per cent of the company's routes in B.C. will be covered by private operators by the end of this year, said Trevena on Monday.

"It was a disappointing decision and it left us scrambling in Western Canada," she said.

Citing poor economic returns, Greyhound eliminated its service in northern B.C. in May. In July, it announced its complete withdrawal of passenger and freight service in Western Canada and parts of Ontario, effective on Wednesday.

Trevena said the province launched BC Bus North earlier this year to cover the majority of northern routes that Greyhound eliminated, which included twice-weekly round trips from Prince Rupert to Prince George.

The government also tasked the Passenger Transportation Board with inviting private bus service proposals and fast-tracking applications for entrepreneurs who offer service to regional areas and smaller, more remote communities, she said. The independent board makes decisions on the licensing of buses, taxis, limousines and shuttle vans in B.C.

Trevena said one private-sector provider will reinstate service from Vancouver to the B.C.-Alberta border by highways 5 and 1.

"In fact, you will be able to get on a bus in Vancouver and end up in Winnipeg," she added.

The minister said the government's northern service and the addition of private operators ensures people in B.C. can travel safely, affordably and reliably through much of the province.

"Reliable bus service is critical in making sure people feel secure in the communities they call home," she said. …

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