Whitehorse Daily Star

YG steadfast on no subsidy for bus service

Greyhound Canada has received the green light it needs to terminate its passenger bus service in the Yukon, effective June 1 of this year.

By Taylor Blewett on February 22, 2018

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.

Comments (10)

Up 0 Down 0

ralpH on Feb 28, 2018 at 9:47 am

@Simon this does not boil down to simple economics. If it did then all forms of mass transit would cease to exist here. Take a look at the northern living allowances paid out by the public sector and how they get utilized for outside travel. Direct form of subsidy. NO only those disadvantaged will suffer.

Up 1 Down 1

Simon on Feb 27, 2018 at 1:34 pm

Government of Yukon shouldn't be in the business of bailing out private companies.

If the demand isn't there and Greyhound isn't making enough money to cover its expenses, the government has no responsibility to subsidize them. Business 101.

Up 4 Down 1

Hugh Mungus on Feb 27, 2018 at 11:39 am

Simple economics in play. If there is actual demand for a bus running up and down the highway then someone will operate that service. There obviously isn't enough demand for someone to do so.

Up 2 Down 2

ProScience Greenie on Feb 26, 2018 at 1:05 pm

Just say no to more corporate welfare. Too much of that up here already. If Greyhound doesn't have the business savvy to make it work maybe some other company can give it a try with smaller buses or different schedules.

Up 6 Down 1

Max Mack on Feb 26, 2018 at 11:16 am

Looks like both BC and Yukon governments are trying to kill northern Greyhound passenger services. The winner appears to be BC Transit, a completely government-subsidized bus service on the "Highway of Tears" that is essentially forcing out the already existing private-sector Greyhound service. This is the real reason Greyhound is opting out.

Mostyn has $200k for failed experimental ice-bridge construction techniques, but nothing for Greyhound. This government throws money around like confetti at a wedding, and yet plays hardball on an essential service.

Up 5 Down 0

north_of_60 on Feb 25, 2018 at 4:28 pm

The people who ride the Greyhound don't vote Liberal, so they don't matter to this government. However half a million for self-serving "re-branding" is a different story and obviously a much higher priority for Yukon Liberals.

Up 5 Down 0

ralpH on Feb 24, 2018 at 11:02 am

All forms of transportation services in the Yukon are heavily subsidized by public funds, one way or the other. Are we forgetting who employs 70-80 percent of all Yukoners directly or indirectly? This service is essential no matter how You cut it. Those with limited resourses and options will be affected the most.

Up 4 Down 0

Lost In the Yukon on Feb 23, 2018 at 3:02 pm

The Guy who pretends to be the Premier would rather spend $500,000.00 of your money to move a stylized sun and mountains over one letter and a website that is worse than the one it replaced all to create the illusion of doing something rather than doing anything meaningful. This is a prime example of the beast feeding itself.

Up 3 Down 1

marvel on Feb 22, 2018 at 5:16 pm

Half a billion for roads for the mining industry, a hundred million for a transmission line to Keno, again for the mining industry, but nothing for a bus service for small businesses which ship goods out of the territory or for ground transport for people who do not take planes.

Priorities straight up and in your face! What's good for the little person is not good for the big resource extraction corporations.
I'm not saying they should necessarily subsidize greyhound, but how in the H do they then justify hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies for the mining industry?!

Up 3 Down 0

Carcross? on Feb 22, 2018 at 2:42 pm

Hey Taylor, have you ever seen a Greyhound bus in Carcross? FYI Carcross is far away from the Alaska highway Greyhound bus route. Check your articles before you present them as facts.

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