RDOS Council joins opposition to Greyhound cuts

By JOE FRIES
Special to OsoyoosToday


B.C.’s transportation minister should step in to block Greyhound Canada’s latest proposal to axe routes, says Princeton Mayor Frank Armitage.

Princeton would lose bus service entirely if the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board approves an application for widespread route reductions and eliminations filed by Greyhound.

Mayor Armitage on Thursday told colleagues on the board of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen that simply providing comment to the provincial regulator doesn’t seem to have much impact.

The town wrote regarding cuts last year “and we never heard back – nothing,” said Mayor Armitage.

“So it’s time the provincial government got involved.”

Tom Siddon, the RDOS director for Area D (Okanagan Falls/Kaleden), said if the cuts are approved, affected residents will be left without viable options to leave their communities.

“It’s all well and good to say the South Okanagan transit plan will offset that, but that only takes you so far,” said Mr. Siddon.

“I think we should take a very strong position.”

RDOS directors voted unanimously to send a letter to the Passenger Transportation Board regarding the situation.

Councils in Keremeos, Princeton and Osoyoos have already sent similar letters.

Penticton city councillors discussed the issue Tuesday, but tabled the matter for two weeks for further study.

Keremeos and Hedley would also lose all service if Greyhound’s changes are approved.

Kaleden, Okanagan Falls, and Oliver would see once-daily departures in each direction reduced to twice-weekly. And the once-daily departure north from Osoyoos would also be cut to twice-weekly.

If approved as proposed, the changes would kill nine routes and stop service to 28 different communities throughout B.C, leaving Greyhound with just 10 routes in the province.

“Greyhound deeply regrets that the public may be negatively impacted by the proposed changes, but it is in the broader public interest to maintain services with fewer options than to have Greyhound abandon its B.C. operations altogether in order to stem its severe operating losses,” the company wrote in its application to the Passenger Transportation Board.

The board is accepting public comment on the proposed changes until Oct. 13.

Joe Fries is a reporter with the Penticton Herald.

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