British Columbia

'I'm fully committed': B.C. minister of transportation to go into talks with Greyhound Canada

The provincial minister of transportation says Greyhound Canada's bid to end all its passenger bus routes in northern B.C. isn't taking into account the social needs of northern regions.

Greyhound's threatened bus routes integral to transportation in northern B.C.

Minister Claire Trevena says talks will be held with Greyhound Canada in the coming weeks to try and find a solution to B.C.'s northern transportation needs. (Kate Rutherford/CBC)

B.C. Transportation Minister Claire Trevena says she is set to meet with Greyhound Canada in the coming weeks to discuss the company's decision to pull passenger service out of parts of rural B.C due to a lack of profitability.

"Our government is determined to ensure that people living in rural areas are able to fully participate in all aspects of life, and that means travelling," said Trevena.

"I'm fully committed to ensuring we find a way for people to travel, so they don't get stranded."

Speaking during CBC's Daybreak North, Trevena said she first learned of the company's decision in late August after it filed an application to the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board to end all its bus runs in northern British Columbia.

Beyond meeting with the Dallas-based Greyhound company, Trevena said transportation needs in northern regions will be addressed during the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) conference which runs Sept. 23 - 27.

"I'll meet with mayors in the region and I know they're meeting collectively as well to come up with a common approach," said Trevena. "I think we'll be able to try and find something to deal with Greyhound and needs in the North."

Earlier this year, Greyhound threatened to end northern routes after the province announced a subsidized bus service along the Highway of Tears. Trevena said the carrier's status as a private company complicates talks between it and the province.

Talks with Greyhound are further complicated by the fact that the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board, which regulates the Greyhound service, is an independent tribunal outside direct provincial control.

Trevena said while she understands Greyhound's position that northern bus routes simply aren't profitable, the Transportation Board has a responsibility to look at social needs in the region when considering the company's application for withdrawal.

Trevena acknowledged the huge impact to northern communities Greyhound's withdrawal would have, and, for that reason, she says provincial subsidization of the company, among other measures, is not out of the question.

"It's a matter of talking with communities, finding out what the needs are and if there are alternatives to Greyhound."

Going forward, Trevena said her ministry's focus is firmly fixed on finding a solution to the current northern transportation problem.

With files from Daybreak North