British Columbia

2 B.C. cities with popular Greyhound routes have 'alternatives,' but concerns remain for rural communities

The mayors of Chilliwack and Squamish, cities with busy Greyhound depots with numerous daily departures, say that although they're not happy with Greyhounds decision to end service in Western Canada — save for one route to Seattle — they will survive.

'These rural communities, in particular, are really just simply cut off'

Local mayors are concerned that rural communities will be cut off and isolated from the rest of the province. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

The mayors of Chilliwack and Squamish, cities with busy Greyhound depots and numerous daily departures, say that although they're not happy with Greyhounds decision to end service in Western Canada — save one route to Seattle — they will survive.

However, they worry about how communities in rural and northern B.C. will adjust.

"Mayor Heintzman [Squamish] and myself are very lucky that there are some alternatives, but I'm telling you, those wee small communities, this is going to be absolutely devastating for them," said Chilliwack Mayor Sharon Gaetz to Stephen Quinn, the host of CBC's The Early Edition.

In 2015, the cities of Chilliwack and Langley developed the Fraser Valley Express, a bus route operated by B.C. Transit that travels along the highway connecting the communities.

In Squamish, there's the Squamish Connector, a private commuter service with plans to expand now that Greyhound won't be casting such a long shadow.

"We don't have any real alternatives between Whistler and Squamish at this point. I suspect you'll see lots of businesses trying to fill that gap," said Squamish Mayor Patricia Heintzman.

However, with private companies come higher ticket fares, warns Heintzman.

When it comes to local travel, the two cities have alternatives in place, but in terms of long-distance provincial travel, the mayors say they are at a loss.

"Let's be clear. It's not just travel in the Lower Mainland, these people need to get right across the province to be with relatives, to be with friends. It's affected the most vulnerable: the seniors, the people that may have a disability," said Mayor Gaetz.

With Greyhound ending service in Western Canada, many local communities are left without options for transportation. (Audrey McKinnon/CBC)

Rural communities

The two mayors agree that Greyhound's closure will hurt most in isolated communities around B.C.

"These rural communities, in particular, are really just simply cut off," said Heintzman. 

She believes the provincial government needs to step in and fill the gap by developing a Crown corporation that can offer public transportation in isolated communities an alternative to the hefty price tag of travelling with a private company.

"This is about fairness. This is about accessibility. This is about equality," said Heintzman.

Listen to the full interview below;

Read more from CBC British Columbia

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