Cuts to Greyhound’s Sea to Sky service approved by B.C. Passenger Board 

A 21-day public notice required, all B.C. service cuts approved

click to enlarge Greyhound Canada has been granted permission to cut its Sea to Sky service by the B.C. Passenger Board.
  • Greyhound Canada has been granted permission to cut its Sea to Sky service by the B.C. Passenger Board.

Greyhound Canada (GCTU ) has succeeded in its application to cut services in British Columbia, including its route between Vancouver and Mount Currie, which takes in Whistler, Squamish and Pemberton.

The B.C. Passenger Board has set a special condition of a 21-day public notice requirement to the changes to the Vancouver/Mount Currie route, also known as route S1, according to its posted decision on its website. No other route being reduced was granted the 21-day notice period.

As well, one route on Vancouver Island has been eliminated and the minimum route frequency on 14 other routes has been reduced throughout the province.

Greyhound submitted its application on Oct. 3, 2012. The decision was released on Jan. 16, 2013.

The passenger board received 40 public comments objecting to the application, including from the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the District of Squamish, the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and the Village of Pemberton.

According to background information in Greyhound Canada’s initial application, service from Vancouver to Whistler Village would be cut in half, from a minimum of eight round trips per day (16 there and back) or a minimum of 56 round trips per week (112 there and back) to four round trips per day (eight there and back) and 28 round trips per week (56 there and back), respectively.

Service to Garibaldi-Squamish would likewise be cut, from a minimum of eight round trips per day (16 there and back) or a minimum of 56 round trips per week (112 there and back) to four round trips per day (eight there and back) and 28 round trips per week (56 there and back).

Pemberton’s service would fall from a minimum of four round trips per day/28 round trips per week to three round trips per day/21 round trips per week.

Overall, only three Greyhound routes in B.C. will remain unaffected.

In its submission to the B.C. Passenger Board as to the reasons behind cutting the services, Greyhound Canada said it had lost $14.1 million from its scheduled passenger operations in B.C in the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

“This is unsustainable,” Greyhound stated in its submission.

The passenger board stated in its decision on Wednesday:

“In all the submissions received from individual users, the main issue was travel for work/commuting purposes between Whistler and either Pemberton or Squamish.
B.C Transit operates throughout the day between Pemberton and Whistler four times daily in each direction. Further, GCTU has stated that it will maintain three daily schedules between Pemberton and Whistler (4 from Pemberton to Whistler) that will provide transportation options throughout the day. With such transportation options, the community of Pemberton should not be impacted in a significant manner.

“With regard to transportation options between Squamish and Whistler, GCTU states that it will keep operating four daily schedules in each direction. The Board notes that schedules operate throughout the day, and that schedule 5078 arrives in Whistler (from Vancouver and Squamish) at 09:30."

Profitability remained the main issue for Greyhound, according to the board’s decision:

“GCTU proposes to reduce services by eliminating nine schedules with FY12 passenger loads which average between five and 28 passengers per scheduled run. A number of public and private transportation options continue to exist on this route. Although one schedule is marginally profitable, the statistical data shows that these nine schedules, on average, operate below the current breakeven RPM of $5.69. The Board finds that ridership on this route is not sufficient to sustain the current minimum route frequency established for the GCTU service. The Board also finds that the proposed minimum frequency reflects the level of public need for this route.”

Since many of the submissions were concerned about work travel “the board is setting a minimum notice period for implementing reductions in minimum route frequency.”

For more, please read next Thursday's Pique Newsmagazine or visit www.piquenewsmagazine.com.

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