Greyhound Canada says it is not terminating its service in northern B.C. after Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach said the company gave him the impression it was being considered.
Bachrach said today he thought the company was thinking about closing its northern service after a meeting about a month ago.
He said Greyhound representatives requested the meeting to give him a “heads up” about possible service cuts.
“They came to town and we sat down and we had a chat about Greyhound’s service,” he said.
“They indicated to me that the company is struggling.
“At the meeting I was given the impression that they were struggling and that they were looking at all of their options.”
Bachrach said those options included “the possibility of whether they could keep operating in our region at all”.
Responding to the mayor’s comments, Greyhound told The Interior News today it had not pulled any services.
Asked whether any service cuts were being considered, the company said it was currently evaluating all of the routes in British Columbia.
“We regularly assess our routes and customer loads per trip of these routes to determine the demand in each location,” said Greyhound spokesperson Ashley Sears.
She said the company would not release passenger statistics for competitive reasons.
Bachrach stood by his impressions of the meeting.
He hoped the company would not have to pull northern routes because losing the service would compound an already chronic shortage of passenger transportation in the Northwest.
Bachrach has been outspoken about his support for increasing public transport along Highway 16, which is also known as the Highway of Tears because of the high number of women who have gone missing or been murdered along the route.
Improving public transportation was one of the recommendations of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry (MWCI), which was prepared by commissioner Wally Oppal in 2012, and a shuttle bus service was also recommended in the 2006 Highway of Tears Symposium Recommendations Report.
The Ministry of Transportation last year ruled out the shuttle bus concept, calling it a “one-size-fits-all” approach that would not work.
It said any expansion or alteration of public transit routes were the responsibility of local governments.
Bachrach told The Interior News today he believes local governments will need to spearhead the push to improve public transportation in northern B.C.
“In light of service reductions and things like Wally Oppal’s report, I think the case for sitting down as local governments and talking about what an adequate level of service would look like is becoming increasingly clear,” he said.
The Interior News is waiting for Greyhound to respond to further questions about its meeting with the mayor.