Greyhound exit: Who’s going to fill the void?

By Marina Wang

On Monday Greyhound Canada announced it will be axing its transport services in Western Canada, citing declining ridership as the primary reason for a crumbling business model.

“This decision is regretful and we sympathize with the fact that many small towns are going to lose service,” Greyhound Canada senior vice-president Stuart Kendrick said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “But simply put, the issue that we have seen is the routes in rural parts of Canada — specifically Western Canada — are just not sustainable anymore.”

All routes, except for the one running Vancouver-Seattle, in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba will be cut starting on Oct. 31, leaving many, especially those with low-income and in rural communities, without a reasonable means of transportation.

Three private bus companies have expressed an interest in filling some of the void.

Kasper Transportation– Kasper Wabinski, founder of Kasper Transportation, has said to the CBC that his company is looking to fill the void in Northern Ontario and Manitoba. The company is based out of Thunder Bay, and new routes running Thunder Bay-Winnipeg and Winnipeg-Regina-Saskatoon-Prince Albert are reportedly under way.

Wabinksi said that his company plans to use smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles and scale-up with ridership and more routes.

Maritime Bus-created six years ago due to failing bus services in Atlantic Canada, Maritime Bus president Mike Cassidy has expressed he might be interested in expanding to Western Canada. Maritime’s business model is built around other transport services such as chartering, tour groups, and municipal services in addition to fixed regional routes.

Pacific Western Transportation-based out of Calgary, Pacific Western Transportation runs services in British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon Territory, Saskatchewan, and Ontario and also owns Red Arrow Motorcoach, operating out of Alberta.  John Stepovy, director of sales and business development, has told the Toronto Star that his company will be “taking a bit of a wait-and-see approach.” The company could expand into smaller towns that are left stranded without Greyhound.

British Columbia’s Passenger Transportation Board has also announced it will “fast-track” applications for long distance bus services. Different licences are required to operate buses in different jurisdictions.

One Response to Greyhound exit: Who’s going to fill the void?

  1. nonconfidencevote says:

    Its interesting that Greyhound isn’t pulling the pin until after the Thanksgiving weekend in Oct.
    They want to grab the cash from the last high volume tourist season before the winter losses pile up.

    I also find it interesting that there hasn’t been one peep from Greyhound employees, Drivers, mechanics, clerks……not one peep…… Is it possible they have seen the writing on the wall for years.
    Empty buses 9 months of the year running daily ?

    It sounds like the “competition” to Greyhound is well placed to walk in and take over some very lucrative, high volume routes.
    But some of the remote communities that are at the end of the line (literally) may never get bus service back.
    As one of the other bus line owners stated the other day. “I’m not subsidizing a money losing route with a money making route….I wont stay in business”.
    If these routes were profitable Greyhound wouldn’t be leaving.
    Is it govt over regulation? Taxes? Fuel costs? Employee costs?
    Only time and another bus company knows for sure……….

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