Premier calls Greyhound service cuts 'disturbing' news for rural Albertans

Rachel Notley is calling on the federal government for a solution for rural transportation across western provinces.

'Frankly, the ability to get from point A to point B … it has to happen'

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is calling on the federal government for a solution to provide passenger transportation services between rural communities. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Premier Rachel Notley says Greyhound Canada's decision to end passenger service to Western Canada is "disturbing and upsetting news for Albertans and people living in rural communities."

The premier said that as someone who grew up in the rural town of Fairview, which had a population of just 2,000 people, she spent time relying on Greyhound to get around. 

"We know how much that service helped people, lower- and middle-income folks in those communities, get out to larger centres to reach medical services, shopping services, a whole bunch of other services in those larger centres," Notley said Tuesday in Calgary.

"Frankly, the ability to get from point A to point B, in this country, it's a thing. It has to happen."

She said Alberta has known about the "growing problem" for some time, and has begun a pilot project looking at connections between Grande Prairie, northwest of Edmonton, Red Deer and Medicine Hat.

Her government is also calling on Ottawa to look into a national solution for rural transportation across provinces.

'This is a national issue,' Greyhound's regional vice president for Western Canada Peter Hamel tells Power & Politics. 7:33

"To the people in those communities, we know that this is stressful for you and we're going to be doing everything we can to try to find some solutions," she said.

As of Oct. 31, Greyhound buses will provide service only to Ontario and Quebec in Canada, other than one U.S.-led route between Vancouver and Seattle. (CBC)

The call for a federal solution was echoed by Transportation Minister Brian Mason. 

"Greyhound's decision to discontinue service in the Prairies is an issue of national importance. We care deeply about making sure that Albertans can get to where they need to be.

"Given the developments today, we need the federal government to step up and come up with a national solution that keeps Canadians connected across the country," Mason said in an emailed statement.

The changes take effect at the end of October, and will end all routes in Western Canada except one U.S.-led route between Vancouver and Seattle.

The decision will impact roughly two million consumers, the company said. 


With files from John Gibson, Tim Devlin and The Canadian Press