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‘People have no choice’: BC NDP addresses proposed Greyhound service cuts

Click to play video: 'Greyhound applies to cut Vancouver Island route and all northern routes' Greyhound applies to cut Vancouver Island route and all northern routes
WATCH: Greyhound applies to cut Vancouver Island route and all northern routes – Aug 30, 2017

The provincial government is working with Greyhound to try and mitigate the impact of a series of major route cuts, which could leave the province’s north without bus service, Transportation Minister Claire Trevena said Monday.

The company has applied to B.C.’s Passenger Transportation Board to discontinue a number of major routes, including all service to northern B.C.

Greyhound has blamed the proposed service cuts on increased costs and a decline in ridership.

READ MORE: Greyhound applies to cut service in Similkameen Valley

During Question Period on Monday, Minister Claire Trevena faced questions from the opposition BC Liberals about what the NDP government has done since learning about the bus company’s plans to scale back service.

“I have talked to mayors around the north about this and they have been very concerned,” Trevena said.

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WATCH: Greyhound service cuts could be coming to the Similkameen

Click to play video: 'Greyhound service cuts could be coming to the Similkameen' Greyhound service cuts could be coming to the Similkameen
Greyhound service cuts could be coming to the Similkameen – Sep 15, 2017

She added that she has met with representatives from the company, and has made it clear that the company should not walk away from established key routes.

“People have no choice,” Trevena said.

“They can’t just hop in a car and go to the airport and hop on WestJet. They need a bus service for safe and reliable travel. I made that very clear and I think that everyone in this house is aware of the difficult geography of this province.”

READ MORE: Greyhound cutting service in B.C. interior

Trevena said she’s working in “a number of areas” to reach a solution.

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Greyhound said the proposed cuts come in the wake of a 51 per cent decrease in ridership, causing the company to lose millions of dollars on passenger service in B.C. last year.

Greyhound has already reduced service on some routes over the past eight years, but the company regional vice president Peter Hamel denies that’s behind the drop in ridership.

“Well, I think the rationale that if you’re going to cut a route you’ll lose ridership is certainly the case sometimes. There is elasticity to some of the corridors. Unfortunately, if you look at the corridors where we had two, three or even four scheduled at a time, many of the corridors would never even fill one bus.”

Routes potentially facing the axe include Victoria to Nanaimo, several routes north from Prince George along the “Highway of Tears,” and routes from Vancouver, Kamloops and Kelowna to the Interior.

Other routes are facing potential major reductions, such as trips between Kamloops and Kelowna; Greyhound wants to cut service there from twice daily to twice weekly.

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