Regional directors refuse to let Greyhound issue die

Board worried about reduction in rural bus service

Jason Hewlett / Kamloops Daily News
February 7, 2013 01:00 AM

Regional directors vow to keep pressure on Greyhound and the province in order to halt a reduction in rural bus routes.

Chairman Randy Murray said lobbying efforts by the South Interior Local Government Associations and Thompson-Nicola Regional District board will keep the matter in the public spotlight.

Murray made this pledge following a meeting of the TNRD board on Thursday. Regional directors received a letter from Transportation Minister Mary Polak, who responded to directors' concerns about Greyhound's plans to slash rural bus routes.

In the letter, Polak acknowledged the need for bus service in rural communities, but the Greyhound also has the right to request changes in service. She noted Greyhound hasn't eliminated any routes.

The letter continues, stating Greyhound doesn't have a monopoly on routes in B.C. and anyone can apply to provide bus service for any route.

During the meeting, Nancy Bepple asked board colleague John Ranta, a retired Greyhound bus driver, if this statement is true.

Ranta said there have been numerous applications to the Passenger Transportation board by other companies to provide bussing in B.C., but these are for closed-door routes only.

"You can't provide service throughout the corridor the way Greyhound does," he said.

Greyhound will also argue any application and has successfully blocked applications in the past, said Ranta.

The company filed an application to the B.C. Passenger Transportation board last October, saying it's not profitable to continue service to some areas.

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