Greyhound Canada has received the green light it needs to terminate its passenger bus service in the Yukon, effective June 1 of this year.
On Tuesday, the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board ruled in favour of Greyhound’s request to discontinue service on seven routes, including one between Whitehorse and Dawson Creek, B.C.
This spells the definite end of Greyhound bus service in the territory.
Greyhound Canada senior vice-president Stuart Kendrick told the Star earlier this month that approval from the independent tribunal would see the company give up its only Yukon route.
It just wasn’t viable for the for-profit company to continue servicing, he said.
“These routes or route segments have extremely low ridership and very large operating losses that significantly impair Greyhound’s financial viability,” the Passenger Transportation Board wrote of the rationale behind its decision.
Greyhound will be required to maintain at least two trips in each direction between Dawson Creek and Whitehorse until May 31.
After that, it can eliminate service completely.
The company will have to provide two weeks’ notice before doing so, posting to the Greyhound website and at affected terminals.
“Immediate stoppage on these routes and route segments would endanger public safety given the harsh winter climate, inhospitable terrain, and the isolation of those living and working along these routes,” the board wrote.
“By May 31, weather conditions in the province will have tempered.”
Greyhound currently runs three buses in each direction on the Whitehorse-Dawson Creek route. Cutting one of those trips would require seven days’ notice.
A Greyhound spokesperson was not available before deadline this afternoon to indicate whether this will be happening, nor the planned end date for all Greyhound service in the Yukon.
“We regret having to do this and appreciate the Board’s acknowledgment of the difficult circumstances under which we’ve been operating over the past several years,” Kendrick said in a statement Wednesday.
“We will continue to provide fair and open communications with our customers to ensure that adequate notice is given for any planned route changes.
“We appreciate that these changes will be difficult for our customers and staff.”
The Passenger Transportation Board reasoned that requiring service to continue until May 31 provides an opportunity for “others who may be interested in providing transportation services along these corridors to apply for a licence” or “government to work with others on alternate transportation services, if it determines it will do so.”
Greyhound has also called on the B.C. government to consider partnering with private operators and municipalities to fund bus services between First Nations, rural and remote communities.
Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn told the Star Wednesday afternoon that the Yukon government has no intention of subsidizing an inter-community bus service in the territory.
“It would be cost-prohibitive for us; it doesn’t make sense for us to lose money shipping people south on a bus.
“If there is a business case to be made to do that, business will fill that, because there will be money to be made.”
Most Yukon communities aren’t located along the Greyhound route, Mostyn pointed out.
They have made do without a bus service to get them to Whitehorse, to other communities, or out of the territory.
On trips between Whitehorse and Dawson Creek, Greyhound buses stop in Carcross, Teslin and Watson Lake, as well as a few less-populated areas in the territory.
Thanks to partnership agreements, Greyhound’s freight delivery service will continue in and out of the Yukon.
More details about these arrangements could not be ascertained before today’s press deadline.