Greyhound Canada is permanently cutting all bus routes across the country, shutting down the intercity bus carrier’s operations in Canada after nearly a century of service. (Bloomberg/Daniel Acker)

Greyhound Canada is permanently cutting all bus routes across the country, shutting down the intercity bus carrier’s operations in Canada after nearly a century of service. (Bloomberg/Daniel Acker)

Greyhound to cut all bus routes, shutdown operations in Canada

Once the border reopens, American affiliate Greyhound Lines Inc. will continue to operate cross-border routes to Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal

Greyhound Canada is permanently cutting all bus routes across the country, shutting down the intercity bus carrier’s operations in Canada after nearly a century of service.

Its American affiliate, Greyhound Lines, Inc., will continue to operate cross-border routes to Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver once the border reopens.

The decision comes a year after Greyhound Canada temporarily suspended all service due to a sharp decline in passengers and mounting travel restrictions amid the first wave of COVID-19.

The bus carrier has struggled for years with declining ridership, increasing competition and deregulation.

But the complete loss of so-called farebox revenue during the pandemic has forced the company to permanently cease operations, said Greyhound Canada senior vice-president Stuart Kendrick.

“It’s been a very tough decision and one we’ve taken with a heavy heart,” he told The Canadian Press in an interview. “It’s been a lifeline for many Canadians for more than 90 years. This will have a massive impact.”

The decision is a blow to rural and remote areas that rely on a patchwork of private intercity bus companies for transportation.

The service has long been part of a network linking smaller communities and big cities, offering an affordable and convenient mode of travel for everyone from essential workers and students to the elderly and backpackers.

Yet the rise in car ownership, ride sharing, discount airlines and urban migration has slowly eroded bus ridership, leading Greyhound Canada to gradually reduce the frequency of some services and cut other routes altogether.

“Private carriers are relying on the farebox revenue to maintain these rural routes,” Kendrick said. “When ridership declines, we have a decision to make. We either cut the frequency, exit the rural markets or look for some help.”

Citing declining ridership, deregulation and subsidized competition, Greyhound Canada suspended all operations in Western Canada in 2018.

Yet despite the ongoing challenges with its remaining routes, nothing could have prepared the company for the dramatic 95 per cent drop in passengers at the outset of the pandemic, Kendrick said.

Multiple coach bus companies teamed up and approached the federal and provincial governments for financial aid amid mounting COVID-19 restrictions. But Kendrick said they were referred to existing pandemic supports — what he called “negligible” for the beleaguered passenger transportation industry — prompting Greyhound Canada to temporarily suspend all service last May.

“There’s really been a lack of support,” Kendrick said. “We don’t get subsidies.”

Intercity bus carriers are also competing with publicly funded train and transit systems, he said, putting private companies at a disadvantage.

The Ontario government has also promised to deregulate the intercommunity bus industry starting in July, a move that would end Greyhound Canada’s control of certain routes.

“We have had exclusive private bus service on certain corridors,” he said, noting that it provided passengers with safe, frequent and affordable service.

“Greyhound Canada’s tough decision today is going to have a massive impact on customers, especially those riding in the rural network.”

About 260 employees were laid off after Greyhound Canada temporarily ended its passenger service last May. An additional 45 employees will be laid off as a result of the permanent closure, Kendrick said.

The company plans to sell the bus stations it owns, he said. As for its leased properties, some of the agreements have expired or have an “out clause,” while it will honour the terms of leases it’s obliged to continue paying, Kendrick said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Just Posted

Gwen Spencer Hethey with her uncle and mentor Major Frederick Richardson. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame)
‘She was a killer’: The Victoria woman who pioneered female sharpshooting

Gwen Spencer Hethey made military men ‘look like turkeys’ says her son

Anita Troop officially turns 100 on Sunday and cards are pouring in from around the world. (Courtesy Marina Miller)
Cards roll in from around the world for West Shore 100 year old

About 100 cards have come for the woman who turns 100 on Sunday

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
UPDATE: Search suspended for angler missing between Port Angeles and Victoria

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

A cardboard man bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s royal cipher has been placed in a window at the Royal Theatre for at least several days. (Evert Lindquist/News Staff)
Mysterious cardboard figure appears in Victoria’s Royal Theatre window

The identity of the figure, which was moved there amid cleaning, remains unknown

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Bruce Springsteen performs at the 13th annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit concert in support of the Bob Woodruff Foundation in New York on Nov. 4, 2019. (Greg Allen/Invision/AP)
Canadians who got AstraZeneca shot can now see ‘Springsteen on Broadway’

B.C. mayor David Screech who received his second AstraZeneca dose last week can now attend the show

New research suggests wolves can be steered away from the endangered caribou herds they prey on by making the man-made trails they use to hunt harder to move along. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Culling cutlines, not B.C. wolves, key to preserving caribou herds: researcher

The government has turned to killing hundreds of wolves in an effort to keep caribou around

Gary Abbott (left) and Louis De Jaeger were two of the organizers for the 2014 Spirit of the People Powwow in Chilliwack. Monday, June 21, 2021 is Indigenous Peoples Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of June 20 to 26

Indigenous Peoples Day, Take Your Dog to Work Day, Onion Rings Day all coming up this week

Central Okanagan Grade 12 grads are set to get $500 each after a more than $1 million donation from a Kelowna couple. (File photo)
B.C. couple donating $500 to every Grade 12 student in the Okanagan

Anonymous donors identified as Kelowna entrepreneurs Lance and Tammy Torgerson

Rita Coolidge played the main stage at Vancouver Island Musicfest in 2017. (Black Press file photo)
This year’s Vancouver Island MusicFest to virtually showcase beauty of Comox Valley

Returning July 9 through 11 with more than 25 hours of music performances

British Columbia’s premier says he’s received a second dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine. (Twitter/John Horgan)
B.C. premier gets 2nd dose of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine

John Horgan shared a photo of himself on social media Friday afternoon holding a completed vaccination card

A lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018.THE CANADIAN PRESS
No winning ticket sold for Friday’s $70 million Lotto Max jackpot

The huge jackpot has remained unclaimed for several weeks now

Most Read