Come November 1, there’ll be one less way to get to Osoyoos.
Citing a 41-percent decline in ridership since 2010, Greyhound Canada this morning announced that except for a single route between Vancouver and Seattle, Wash. it is halting passenger and freight operations in Western Canada — including daily runs to Osoyoos from Kelowna and Kamloops.
“It is with a heavy heart that we announce these service impacts for the end of October,” said Stuart Kendrick, Senior Vice President, Greyhound Canada. “We understand that these route changes are difficult for our customers.”
Greyhound Canada will continue to serve the following corridors:
- Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal-New York
- Toronto-Niagara Falls-Buffalo-New York
- Toronto-Barrie, Toronto-Guelph/Kitchener/Cambridge, and all other southern Ontario services.
The decision to end service in Canada is “due to a challenging transportation environment that is characterized by declining ridership in rural communities; increased competition from subsidized national and inter-regional passenger transportation services; regulatory constraints, and increased car travel, Greyhound says in an information release.
“Despite best efforts over several years, ridership has dropped nearly 41% across the country since 2010 within a changing and increasingly challenging transportation environment,” said Mr. Kendrick. “Simply put, we can no longer operate unsustainable routes.”
The announcement brought swift condemnation from local and provincial leaders.
“Am I upset about it, yes, of course I am,” said Osoyoos Mayor Sue McKortoff. “Have we dealt with this before? Yes, a year ago when Greyhound said they were closing the route from Osoyoos to Hope.”
She added numerous letters from various interior communities made their way to Victoria and various provincial departments and ministries after Greyhound’s last round of cuts and she expects additional discussion will take place following this latest announcement.
“Not only do people like to ride on the bus between places but it’s a parcel delivery, too,” she said. “It’s a convenience that small towns have enjoyed for many years.”
“It’s unfortunate that Greyhound did not communicate their plans sooner,” said Claire Trevana, the provincial Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure.
“At no point did Greyhound reach out to me, or my staff, to have a conversation on solutions to keep people connected — something I would have expected, given their long history in this province.
“This move will leave people with limited options to get around, and this will likely impact the most vulnerable.”
Mayor McKortoff, who was a frequent Greyhound passenger — especially during the winter months — said she can only hope the void left by Greyhound’s departure will be filled by another operator.
“I’m certainly hoping somebody like BC Transit or another company will see the value in providing service to small communities and will do something about it.”
In June the provincial government introduced what it called an “interim service” in North BC to fill routes abandoned by Greyhound.
BC Bus North operates two round-trips per week between Prince Rupert and Prince George, Prince George and Valemount and Prince George to Dawson Creek and Fort St. John.
In Southern BC, sops along Hwy. 3, including Kaleden, Keremeos, Hedley, Princeton and Manning Park, were abandoned June 1.
Greyhound’s service to Osoyoos arrives from Kelowna (with stops along Hwy. 97) at 8:45 a.m. Mondays to Thursdays. On Friday through Sunday, the bus arrives from Kamloops at 2:15 p.m.
Buses depart Osoyoos one hour after arrival, returning the way they came.
Last November. Greyhound moved its Osoyoos depot to Nk’Mip Corner from the former Destination BC building — bringing back its packaging service with the change.