City and rural politicians are right to make some noise about Greyhound’s intention to reduce services, but all is not lost if the bus company cuts routes.
Members of Kamloops council and TNRD directors have each expressed concerns since the news this month that Kamloops will lose the 9:45 a.m. bus to Vancouver, a noon departure to Edmonton and a 4:30 p.m. bus to Prince George. The cuts will also hurt rural communities along the way, some of which only have one bus a day traveling through.
The company expressed regrets but with fuel and maintenance costs on the rise, it can’t afford to keep running big empty buses along so many routes.
Some have mistaken notions that Greyhound is the only transportation option in B.C., that the bus behemoth has a monopoly in the province and others can’t apply.
This is not so.
Anyone wishing to start a taxi, limo, shuttle van or bus service can apply to the Passenger Transportation Branch for a licence. Decisions are made by the passenger transportation board, an independent tribunal made up of five part-timers and four full-time staff.
According to its website, the board receives between 150 and 225 applications in a year. Considerations include whether there is a public need for the service and if the applicant is fit to provide the service.
Additionally, there is no such rule that bus operators are not allowed to advertise their services, something Merritt mayor Susan Roline suggested at the TNRD meeting.
Essentially, operators must advertise for the service they got their licence for. If you say you’re going to operate three 10-person shuttles, you can’t advertise you’ve got five 30-person buses.
While it may not be viable to run multiple runs of a huge bus with 50 seats through every town, there might be opportunities for smaller services, like a daily run through the city’s outlying towns into Kamloops.
If the demand is there, an entrepreneur could step into any hole Greyhound might leave.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.