B.C. mayor says Greyhound Canada’s problems were of its own making
John Ranta knows a thing or two about Greyhound.
The Cache Creek, B.C. mayor drove buses for the company for more than 30 years.
LISTEN: Cache Creek mayor talks about the future without Greyhound
And he says he wasn’t surprised when the company announced it was packing up and wheeling out of Western Canada, citing a lack of profitability.
Ranta said the company’s executives failed to innovate, calling them “dinosaurs.”
“Management of the company didn’t stay current, wasn’t up to date with modern trends. They used to pay for the whole operation with revenue from the freight they hauled,” he told CKNW’s The Jill Bennett Show.
“While other companies were able to implement electronic tracking of packaging, Greyhound was still sending a little piece of paper called a tracking slip up and down the road in the hands of the driver.”
Greyhound had previously announced it was slashing a number of major routes in B.C. before pulling the plug on the wider region. The shutdown will take effect at the end of October, with a single Vancouver-Seattle route to remain in effect.
It cites a 41 per cent decline in ridership since 2010, regulatory constraints and competition from low-cost airlines as well as publicly-subsidized regional passenger transportation services.
WATCH: Fallout from Greyhound withdrawing service from Western Canada
Ranta acknowledged those public shuttle buses were drawing customers away from Greyhound, but said the company had no one to blame for that but itself.
“The timing of [Greyhound] trips through communities was based on when the buses left Vancouver or Calgary or Edmonton,” Ranta said.
“And so the little communities in between, you know, Revelstoke, Golden, Salmon Arm, the buses weren’t necessarily travelling through those communities at a time convenient for the people.”
He said the shuttles sprung up in response.
In the short term, Ranta said the absence of Greyhound is clearly a problem for residents in smaller communities who don’t own cars.
But he said having the provincial or federal government step in with a taxpayer-funded alternative would be “folly.”
“I don’t think throwing more money at a losing propositon is the way to go,” Ranta said.
Instead, he believes a combination of smaller private operators and ride-sharing will likely fill the gap.
Ranta said there are several steps the province could take towards speeding that process up, including axing fuel tax on passenger transportation and opening the door to ride-hailing services.
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