Greyhound is giving reassurances its freight service along Highway 16 will continue after the end of May when its passenger service is scheduled to end.
Businesses and individuals who rely on the company’s freight service for the fast and efficient movement of goods had been worried it would be cut along with passenger service.
But Greyhound vice president Peter Hamel, who is based in Winnipeg, said the company contacted freight customers when plans to cancel passenger service were first announced.
“Greyhound will be doing an additional call out to these customers to ensure them that the GPX freight component is not affected and remains business as usual now and after the June 1, 2018 date [when passenger service ends],” he said.
What shape that freight service isn’t yet known but Hamel said it is contracting with other companies so that “the transition after June 1, 2018 will be seamless to the customer base.”
“Due to the competitive nature of the contracts we will share the information closer to the June 1, 2018 date,” he added.
Hamel said delivery service within communities will also continue.
“Greyhound will communicate the GPX package fully as we near the June 1, 2018 date,” he said.
And while Greyhound refines its freight service plans, it doesn’t look like there’s any hope so far of reversing the decision to end Highway 16 passenger service.
Immediately after the provincial Passenger Transportation Board told Greyhound in February it could cut its money-losing passenger service along Highway 16 and on other routes in B.C., there were calls for provincial and federal officials to find a way to continue the service.
Greyhound responded by calling on the provincial government to establish what it called a “connecting communities fund” which would help finance intercity bus service.
“Provinces spend billions of dollars on public transportation in cities but relatively little on transportation in rural and remote communities,” another Greyhound official, Stuart Kendrick, wrote in a widely circulated letter.
Companies interesting in providing the service would then bid for the operations contract, he suggested.
But to date there’s been no response to the proposal, said Hamel.
“Greyhound starts and ends every conversation with our ‘Connecting Communities’ model,” he added.
“We continue to communicate this funding model at federal and provincial levels. To date we have had no response and will continue to move forward with our reductions.”