Manitoba

Manitoba extends Greyhound agreement

Manitoba is extending its service agreement with Greyhound Canada, maintaining existing bus service in the province for another year.
Manitoba is paying Greyhound $3.9 million to continue its service to March 31, 2012. (CBC)

Manitoba is extending its service agreement with Greyhound Canada, maintaining existing bus service in the province for another year.

Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton announced Thursday the province would give the company $3.9 million to continue its service to March 31, 2012.

In September 2009, Greyhound Canada announced it would cease passenger services in Manitoba if it did not get government support.

Since January 2010, Manitoba has been giving the company money ($3.12 million in 2010) to keep the service going.

But other jurisdictions have not been so willing. Throughout 2010, Greyhound cut routes in B.C., Alberta and Ontario.

Ashton said bus service in the province is important and the province is searching for a long-term solution.

"We have just completed our consultation process with other jurisdictions and with Manitobans from all over the province," he stated in a press release.

"We've heard that bus service is important to Manitobans and we are committed to making changes, where appropriate, to help new and existing operators improve their viability and provide opportunities for new service while minimizing reductions."

Following a meeting of the Council of Transportation Ministers last fall, an interprovincial task force was struck to examine the future of the bus industry in Canada.

The final report recommended provinces review their current legislative and regulatory frameworks, a concept which was generally supported in public consultations in Manitoba, Ashton said.

A final report based on the consultations in Manitoba is being finalized and will be available in the coming weeks, he added.

"We acknowledge the current system is unsustainable in the long term, but change takes time and we want to ensure any changes produce the best outcome for Manitobans," said Ashton.