Greyhound Canada is permanently shutting down and cancelling all bus routes
After nearly 92 years of running coach buses all across North America, Greyhound Canada is shutting down and closing up shop nationwide. Forever.
"Due to sustained ridership declines in Ontario and Quebec, Greyhound Canada has made the difficult decision to discontinue all operations on its remaining routes in Ontario and Quebec, and will permanently close all services in Canada effective May 13, 2021," announced the company on Thursday.
"This announcement has no impact on Greyhound Lines' operations within the United States."
Founded as Canadian Greyhound Coaches Limited in 1929, Greyhound Canada was sold to its American counterpart in 1940, but, at the time of its demise, was a separate entity from Greyhound Lines, Inc.
This is good news for people who use coach buses to cross the border, as the American version of the company will continue to operate cross-border express services (when permitted to do so again) between Toronto and New York, Toronto and Buffalo, Montreal and New York, Montreal and Boston, and Vancouver and Seattle.
Every other route in Canada is now cancelled for good, though they had already been "temporarily suspended" last May after experiencing a 95 per cent drop in ridership amid the pandemic.
Cities impacted by the nixed bus routes include Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, London, Windsor, Subury, Ottawa, Kitchener, Guelph, Cambridge, Kingston and Niagara Falls.
This is really sad, and will affect so many communities #RIPGreyhound— Catman Meow (@airwei221) May 13, 2021
"years of declining ridership and the impact of a changing and increasingly challenging transportation environment, including de-regulation and subsidized competition such as VIA Rail"https://t.co/5A5SXEiWiw
"We deeply regret the impact this has on our staff and our customers, as well as the communities we have had the privilege of serving for many years," said Greyhound Canada SVP Stuart Kendrick in a statement released Thursday.
"A full year without revenue has unfortunately made it impossible to continue operations. Thank you to our dedicated staff for their commitment and service, and to our customers for choosing Greyhound Canada during better times."
While COVID has no doubt hurt the bus giant's bottom line, it's of note that Greyhound had already significantly scaled back operations prior to the pandemic.
"Greyhound Canada implemented a range of cost-reduction steps during recent years, including frequency adjustments to route schedules and other efficiency measures," reads a company FAQ.
"In 2018, after years of declining ridership and the impact of a changing and increasingly challenging transportation environment, including de-regulation and subsidized competition such as VIA Rail and publicly owned bus systems, the difficult decision was made to suspend service in the western part of Canada."
With only Ontario and Quebec still in the mix and a service fully reliant on fareboxes, Greyhound Canada simply couldn't weather such a steep drop off in riders.
"Greyhound Canada has made significant outreach efforts to provincial and federal governments for financial support for the industry," reads the notice. "Financial investments from governments for Canada's inter-city bus sector have been negligible. Operations are not feasible absent of financial support."
The closure of @GreyhoundBus in Canada leaves over 300 of our members without jobs and is devastating for remote, rural, Indigenous and Northern communities and has torn a hole in the fabric of our country.— ATU Canada (@atu_canada) May 13, 2021
Read the statement from our National President:https://t.co/rNsltWA7nl
The Amalgamated Transit Union of Canada (ATU), which represents some 300 Greyhound Canada employees, also blames the company's death on a lack of help from the government — and it warns of repercussions that will go far beyond the job losses sustained by its members.
"Rural and Indigenous communities in Canada have been and are chronically underserviced by public transit, creating transit deserts in which individuals are unable to travel to neighbouring communities for work, medical appointments or leisure," reads a press release issued by ATU Canada Thursday.
"The Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) Report even highlights the need for adequate intercity bus transit as a key step to reconciliation," it continues.
"The decision today and inaction by the Trudeau government has further entrenched the reality of isolation and throws the Trudeau government even further off the path of reconciliation."
Some critics are now calling for a nationalized bus service in the wake of Greyhound's demise, arguing that bus service is crucial for people who can't access other forms of transportation, such as planes and personal vehicles.
"The closure of intercity transit today has torn a hole in the fabric of our country, which will take decades to repair," said ATU Canada president John Di Nino of the closure.
"People are tired of waiting in isolation — we need to restore and massively invest in intercity transit as part of a Green New Deal as soon as possible."
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