Greyhound second bus company to leave Saskatchewan

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Greyhound Canada second bus service to cancel Saskatchewan routes
Greyhound says rural bus transportation is a critical service- just not a profitable one – Jul 9, 2018

The familiar stripes and lean frame of the Greyhound mascot will soon be disappearing from prairie roads, leaving a handful of Saskatchewan bus stops and dozens of freight locations in the lurch.

“There’s some elderly that don’t drive anymore, there’s students that don’t drive also,” Firat Uray, the owner of a local bus company, said. “It’s important for visiting families, medical appointments.”

READ MORE: Greyhound Canada to end routes in Prairies, B.C.

It’s another blow to a province that lost the Saskatchewan Transportation Company in 2017.

Greyhound says rural bus transportation is a critical service; but it’s not a profitable one.

“We’ve seen a lot of trends where the ridership in western Canada on most of the corridors are unsustainable. In fact, single digits in average ridership per day on schedule,” Greyhound senior vice-president Stuart Kendrick admitted.

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“We’ve seen a lot of urbanization, people moving out of small town Canada and into the big centres. We’ve got some low cost airlines that are in place, and some services parallel to ours.”

READ MORE: What are the alternatives to Greyhound in Western Canada?

Kendrick noted a 41 per cent decline in ridership since 2010. The company had begun trimming its operations since 2009, appealing to provincial and federal government for help.

In 2010, a task force of the provinces and the federal government found there was no need for a national program to subsidize the operations of intercity bus carriers, but that individual jurisdictions could subsidize specific routes and carriers on a case-by-case basis.

But don’t hold your breath for an STC revival.

“STC experienced similar reductions over this timeline with a 77 per cent decrease in ridership since 1980 and a 35 per cent decrease in ridership since 2012. The publicly subsidized operation of bus services remains unfeasible and would require massive taxpayer subsidies of over $80 million over the next five years,” said a statement from the premier’s office.

READ MORE: Sask. NDP calls on feds to drop judicial review of STC arbitration ruling

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The province is hopeful private sector companies, like Uray’s, will be able to fill the void.

Rider Express launched as a result of the STC loss, maintaining routes to Prince Albert, Regina, Saskatoon, and Swift Current.

There’s opportunity that we may increase out service between Manitoba and Alberta,” Uray said.

415 people will lose their job as a result of the cuts, while Greyhound estimates some two million customers will be affected.

The routes will officially close on October 31.

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