Starting next month, those hoping to ride a Greyhound bus to or from Squamish will have to board and disembark from a single point — the Garibaldi North depot on Government Road.
In a ruling issued on Sept. 11, B.C.'s Passenger Transportation Board approved Greyhound's application to eliminate 30 route points on 11 routes in British Columbia, including three in Squamish and the only ones in Lions Bay and Furry Creek.
The Britannia Beach stop is unaffected by the changes.
Justin Baynton, Greyhound Sea to Sky operations manager, on Monday (Sept. 23) said that beginning Oct. 16, the only boarding and disembarking location in Squamish will be the Garibaldi North terminal, 40446 Government Rd.
A “route point” is often defined as a pick-up and drop-off point that's normally listed on a scheduled route's timetable. The PTB's current policy, though, states that route points “are usually stated as municipalities (e.g. incorporated cities, towns and villages) and unincorporated towns and villages.”
Greyhound's application included a request for the elimination of a number of route points in Whistler, stops in Horseshoe Bay, Sunset Beach, Lions Bay, Furry Creek and Brackendale, Garibaldi Highlands and Dentville.
The PTB's approval of Greyhound's application comes just months after it approved the company's application to reduce the minimum number of daily buses between Vancouver and Squamish from seven to four. The earlier Sea to Sky service cuts, and those on a host of other B.C. route, were needed to stanch the flow of red ink in the company's B.C. operations, company officials said at the time.
In approving the elimination of route points on the Sea to Sky route, “The Board finds the proposed elimination of route points… justifiable given it aligns with current Board policy that considers the boundaries of a route point to be the legal boundary of the incorporated or unincorporated area.”
Of the 13 comments the board received on the overall application, 12 related to the elimination of route points on route S1, from Vancouver to Pemberton. No concerns were expressed about the elimination of the Dentville and Brackendale stops, while the District of Squamish “stated general concerns with eroding transportation options in the region, requested a minimum of two stops be maintained and, as well, further public consultation on the matter,” the decision stated.
In its response to those concerns, Greyhound officials told the board that “all route points proposed for elimination with[in] the District of Squamish are served by local B.C. Transit service schedules.”
Grant Odsen, Greyhound regional manager for passenger services, on Thursday (Sept. 19) said elimination of stops along the route will make the overall service more efficient.
“A lot of our ridership statistics are included in the applications and for virtually all of those points, there's very low ridership,” Odsen said. “One reason we're doing this is we have a large number of people going from Vancouver to Squamish or Whistler and a faster service for those passengers is going to enhance their satisfaction with our service.”