As far back as 2012, Greyhound sent out a proposal to reduce its service between Prince George and Prince Rupert.
In October 2012, the District of Houston wrote a letter to Greyhound opposing their application, especially because of the concerns of safety along the highway of tears.
Five years later Greyhound has resent its application to the Passenger Transporation Board to review its withdrawal. If denied, I wouldn’t be surprised if in 2022 Greyhound applied again.
Their grounds for reducing includes the loss of $10 million annual to operate in Northern B.C, expansion of public transit options, ride sharing companies, and a decline in the number of people living in rural locations.
According to Statistics Canada, Houston saw an increase of six people from 2011 to 2016. Burns Lake saw a decrease in those years by 13 per cent, and Smithers a decrease of one percent.
However, the overall population of B.C. increased by six percent.
And if the majority of that increase is in the lower mainland, is that not more of a reason to provide a Greyhound service for those whose family live in that area and are uncomfortable or unable to drive from the north to the south?
The B.C. transit system was never intended to be an alternative to the Greyhound service. Rather as an additional means to interconnect communities and increase the safety along the infamous Highway of Tears.
Understandably, Greyhound is a business and is expected to make its decisions that profit the company.
As a former tree-planter, the spring and late summer season floods this bus service with people from all over B.C. and Canada to get to north for the planting season and back home.
What about a seasonal service option? Instead of a blanket cut of all services from Prince George to Prince Rupert (not to mention the other routes in B.C. that Greyhound is proposing to cut), what about taking the data Greyhound has accumulated over the past five years to determine the most recently and commonly used routes, as well as what times of the year and zip code areas see the highest influx, to create a schedule that is customer-centric to the demand for Grehound’s service?