Some Manitobans are wondering how they’re going to travel after Greyhound announced Monday they will shut down service to most of Western Canada October 31.
“Shock but not surprised,” said Thompson Mayor Dennis Fenske. “Again, we’re seeing transportation in the north being driven by the bottom line.”
All routes in Manitoba will be affected, said Greyhound, including Winnipeg to Thompson, Thompson to Gillam and Thompson to Cross Lake.
“The rail service is already compromised, although the bus lines aren’t servicing anything north of Gillam, but with the bus lines across the north, you’re talking Swan, Flin Flon, the Pas, Thompson, Snow Lake, Nelson House, Norway House, Cross Lake, communities like that where they are impacted.”
“Not everyone has the luxury of owning their own vehicle … to outright pull out is a big blow to northern Manitoba.”
Other bus routes in Alberta, Saskatchewan and much of B.C. will also be shut down. The only route that remains is Vancouver to Seattle.
“This decision is regretful and we sympathize with the fact that many small towns are going to lose service,” Greyhound Canada senior vice-president Stuart Kendrick said.
Kendrick said 415 people will be laid off as the routes are not sustainable anymore and ridership has plummeted.
Indigenous people from northern Manitoba rely on the bus service for travel to urban areas to get to medical appointments, said Grand Chief Arlen Dumas of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.
“It is already well documented that our citizens have to ride the bus for hours, some longer than 14 hours, in order to see a doctor. How will they get access to adequate health care now?”
Barbara Pawluck is from Prince George, B.C. and arrived in Winnipeg at 2 p.m. Monday on her way to Neepawa to visit her mother. She said she uses the service about once a month.
Now, she’ll have to find a backup plan.
“To come here, we’ll have to fly,” she said. “I just thought it was terrible, just terrible.”
Winnipegger Frank Bruce has been riding Greyhound buses from 1962.
“It’s sad,” he said, adding today was probably the last time he would be riding the bus.
The reaction on social media was a mix of disappointment and sadness.
According to Greyhound’s website, a bus ticket from Winnipeg to Thompson ranges on a Friday ranges $108 – $146. For VIA Rail service, it’s $142. Flights range from $455 to $513.
Michael Badejo of the Winnipeg Airport Authority said Greyhound notified them of their impending closure and Greyhound will “abide by the agreements we had in place for their operational terminal on the airport campus.”
“We’ll converse with Greyhound on next steps for their operational space in the immediate future.”
List of routes affected in Manitoba:
- Sault Ste Marie – Thunder Bay – Winnipeg – Manitoba
- Calgary – Winnipeg
- Winnipeg – Thunder Bay
- Winnipeg – Saskatoon
- Winnipeg – Thompson
- Winnipeg – Flin Flon
- Thompson – Gillam
- Thompson – Cross Lake