Greyhound still has their application before the BC Passenger Transportation Board to end their route on HWY 16.
Witsuwit’en Hereditary Chief Namoks, also known as John Ridsdale, says having a bus service is critical for safe transportation here in the north.
However, Greyhound claims their ridership on affected routes has dropped 50 per cent since 2010 and is losing money.
“For them to focus on a monetary value over a human value; that’s just not the right mindset, that’s a corporate mindset. What about the safety issue of our people? Are they putting a price tag on our people again? We’ve had it in the past before,” says Namoks.
Namoks also says the timing of Greyhound’s announcement this summer is suspect considering the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry in Smithers this week.
Vice president of Greyhound Canada Stuart Kendrick said in a statement that the proposed route reductions will be a difficult change for affected passengers. He says Greyhound regrets issuing the filing.
“The situation has come to a head, however, and despite a long-standing series of corrective measures and discussions with regulatory officials, the reality is that we can no longer operate the unsustainable routes, and we are proposing changes that will make other BC routes more viable,” said Kendrick.
Skeena Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen says Greyhound has been able to operate a monopoly in the province and shouldn’t be allowed to pull out of the north.
“If they had a little more effort on the other side trying to find ways to meet with community leaders and make this thing work; that would be a whole lot better for everyone involved,” said Cullen.
The Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) passed a resolution last week to save the northern service.
Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall says there’s now a very small window of opportunity with the UBCM planning to meet with the BC Passenger Transportation Board sometime this month.