Posted on 17 October 2012 by Keith Lacey
Town of Osoyoos council has sent a letter to Greyhound Canada insisting they keep regular daily service coming to Osoyoos following last week’s announcement the company has applied to reduce frequency to 15 rural communities across British Columbia.
“I think we should send them a letter … to let them know we still want service in this community,” said Coun. Mike Plante. “If we don’t say anything, the entire service could actually be gone.”
During Monday’s committee of the whole meeting, several councillors commented they didn’t blame Greyhound for wanting to cut back service from two runs a day to one as their buses are often empty when they see them passing through town.
However, keeping the daily run that leaves Osoyoos heading towards Vancouver at 6 a.m. is important to maintain as many local residents need and rely on the service, said Coun. Michael Ryan.
Coun. Sue McKortoff said she often uses Greyhound buses to travel to Vancouver during the winter months and said it’s important this service be maintained even if it is reduced.
Because the deadline to file complaints or concerns was Wednesday (Oct. 17), council voted to send off an email letter to Greyhound Canada management following Monday’s meeting.
Greyhound Canada is looking to cut costs by reducing frequency to 15 small, B.C. communities, including Osoyoos, as part of a plan to save several million dollars in operating costs.
Greyhound Canada has applied to the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) to eliminate one route and reduce frequency on 15 other routes, several of which run through the Okanagan Valley.
As part of its regular daily run from Vancouver to Rock Creek, Greyhound has applied to have only one stop per day in Osoyoos as well as Oliver and Okanagan Falls from its current schedule of two stops a day in all three towns.
Greyhound has also applied to reduce its current schedule of four stops a day to two stops per day in Kelowna, West Kelowna, Summerland and Penticton.
In Greyhound Canada’s application to the PTB, the company says it lost $14.1 million on scheduled passenger operations in B.C. during the 2011/2012 fiscal year.
“These losses are unsustainable,” the company stated.
Greyhound Canada cites several reasons for the huge loss, including high costs for fuel and maintenance, reduced ridership and unregulated competition from B.C. agencies such as B.C. Transit.
“This application is submitted in light of the ongoing unsustainable passenger operating losses that are being incurred by GCTU in B.C. The minimum frequency adjustments and route abandonment that the company is applying for will, if approved, make it possible for GCTU to continue its inter-city bus passenger operations in B.C.,” the company stated in its application.
“To date, GCTU remains in British Columbia despite the urgent nature of the problems it faces. We are still here because we know that notwithstanding declines in ridership on many of our routes in this province, there remains residual demand for our services, particularly from travellers who have few or no other options available to them for transportation. If we are forced to cease operations in British Columbia, the existing public need for intercity bus transportation will either go unmet or it will have to be filled by government subsidized operators,” the company stated.
If the application is approved, Greyhound Canada would eliminate 2.2 million miles from its services in the province and generate savings of $6.75 million annually.