Beginning next month, Squamish residents who use Greyhound to get to and from Whistler and the Lower Mainland will see the bus service slashed by almost half.
B.C.'s Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) on Wednesday (Jan. 16) approved Greyhound Canada's application to eliminate a ski bus route on Vancouver Island and trim service on 15 other routes in B.C.
In its application, Greyhound argued that it lost $14.1 million on its B.C. operations in 2011 and that cuts to the minimum number of required daily buses on the 15 routes were necessary to avoid eliminating the service altogether.
The minimum number of daily buses between Vancouver and Squamish is being cut from seven to four and from Vancouver to Whistler from eight to four. For the Sea to Sky Corridor route, the PTB attached a special condition that Greyhound provide 21-day notice to its passengers, meaning the service reductions will take effect on Feb. 6.
Local politicians had voiced opposition to the proposed cuts. The District of Squamish, Resort Municipality of Whistler, Village of Pemberton and Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (SLRD) were among the government bodies who sent comments to the PTB objecting to the move.
On Oct. 9, Squamish Coun. Patricia Heintzman — now also the chair of the SLRD — said at a Squamish Transit Standing Committee meeting, “We need to cohesively send a clear message that this is unacceptable.”
Grant Odsen, Greyhound's regional manager of passenger service, told the Kamloops Daily News that the company lost “close to $18 million” in B.C. in 2012, adding that ridership demand simply didn't support the level of service being offered.
“It's a long-term trend, I guess you could say,” he said. “The scheduled are historical; they've been there a long time.”
For more on this developing story, check back at www.squamishchief.com or see the Jan. 24 print edition of The Chief.