Carless travellers heading south from Thompson – or anywhere else in Western Canada – will not have the option of taking a Greyhound Canada bus much longer, as the company announced July 9 that it would cease operations in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta on Halloween.
The only B.C. route that will continue beyond that date is one from Vancouver to Seattle that is operated by Greyhound Bus Lines, Inc. (USA) and BoltBus.
The company will also stop running buses west of Sudbury in Ontario.
Freight operations will also be shut down.
Greyhound Canada said the decision was based on declining ridership, increased competition from subsidized national and inter-regional passenger transportation services, regulatory constraints and increased car travel and was designed to ensure their service will remain viable on the routes in Ontario and Quebec that are not affected.
"It is with a heavy heart that we announce these service impacts for the end of October,” said Greyhound Canada senior vice-president Stuart Kendrick. “We understand that these route changes are difficult for our customers. Despite best efforts over several years, ridership has dropped nearly 41 per cent across the country since 2010 within a changing and increasingly challenging transportation environment. Simply put, we can no longer operate unsustainable routes. We are committed to keeping customers informed and will continue to provide fair and open communications to ensure that adequate notice is given."
"The rationale was that they've been losing money for years and they say it's not a viable business in the west anymore,” said Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1374 President Eric Carr, estimating 420 to 500 union members would be affected and that all would receive severance packaged and that the company would meet its pension obligations. “They never gave the union or any of us an opportunity to work with them on anything. I was not a happy camper, I'll put it that way. They mismanaged this business. When we lost control in Canada and First Group took over they ran this business out of the U.S. and they ran it poorly. This does not have anything to do with wages of workers. There's still some viability in this business but not the way it was being run from another country."
Greyhound Canada previously announced that it would cease all bus operations in Manitoba back in 2009 before reaching an agreement with the provincial government to continue operations, though it reduced service between Thompson and Winnipeg to one bus a day in 2015 after having shut down four Manitoba routes, including those from Thompson to Lynn Lake and Flin Flon, in 2012.