A Greyhound bus goes through Wallace Street in Hope. The Fraser Canyon could lose its Greyhound service if Greyhound’s request to cut service there goes through. (X. Y. Zeng photo)

A Greyhound bus goes through Wallace Street in Hope. The Fraser Canyon could lose its Greyhound service if Greyhound’s request to cut service there goes through. (X. Y. Zeng photo)

Fraser Canyon resident says they will face isolation if Greyhound pulls out

Greyhound wants to scale back its Vancouver to Prince George service, affecting the Fraser Canyon.

Greyhound is proposing to eliminate 10 route points on the Vancouver to Prince George route which includes Hope, North Bend, Boston Bar, Spuzzum, Yale and Laidlaw.

The application also seeks to reduce minimum weekly frequency to two — a drop from a two-per-day minimum and a weekly minimum of 28 on various points such as in Prince George, Quesnel and Cache Creek.

Hope, North Bend, Boston Bar, Spuzzum, Yale and Laidlaw are currently on a one-per-day minimum and 14 trips weekly, although some stops are by request only.

In their application to the Passenger Transportation Board, received Aug. 10, they justified elimination of stops “where very few passengers embark or disembark” will reduce the duration of rides to attract increased ridership.

“Today’s reality is that every second counts and people do not want to make any compromises with respect to the time they are willing to spend travelling,” said the application.

Greyhound said that the two-per-week minimum they are requesting allows them to respond to demand and will continue to operate its current schedules on all routes that are not subject to elimination. Current levels of service will not likely change in 2017 and the board does not anticipate any changes until early 2018.

Greyhound also said that the loss of revenue is in an “unsustainable manner.”

“It is imperative to understand that the scale of these losses renders the preservation of the current level of service impossible,” said the application. “Greyhound has no choice but to operate only when there is a real and sufficient public need, meaning that it will operate where there are high levels of demand, viable ridership, and meaningful passenger counts and operating revenue.”

Greyhound also released passenger count data. Provincially, there has been a year-on-year decline of ridership from 1.22 million in 2013 to 853,733 in 2017. This trend is not reflected in Boston Bar and Yale — data showed that from 2014-2017, both communities did not see a year-on-year decline in ridership. In Boston Bar, passenger count has averaged 344 persons, while last year, 388 passengers used the service. In Yale, the average was 24, with 16 people using the service last year.

The application seeks to also eliminate nine other routes and reduce minimum route frequency on 10 routes, which the application says will eliminate 1.64 schedule miles in B.C. and retain 3.73 million schedule miles.

For Boston Bar resident Karen Tillotson, who edits the newsletter and works at Canyon Lanes, which serves as the bus depot, she sees a future where residents will become more disconnected. A key service that the Greyhound provides lies in its courier service.

“We have a lot of disabled people here, senior people here, sick people here,” said Tillotson. “They have prescriptions coming up twice a week from Pharmasave or Guardian pharmacy … and they put everything on the Greyhound. You can’t mail that stuff.”

Tillotson also said that couriers do not deliver to Boston Bar, and that people appreciate using Greyhound’s courier service because it is faster, hence small businesses use them as do people sending Christmas gifts.

“You’ll probably get it in 24 hours,” said Tillotson. “[Canyon Tire] often get tires brought in on the bus.”

Tillotson also added that Boston Bar has seen an increasing number of people with low-income, who have moved from Vancouver to find housing there.

“They don’t have a car, and they are on very fixed income, pensions,” said Tillotson. “There was one young fellow, and his mom still lives in Vancouver, so she bought him a bus ticket from there. He gets on the bus here, goes down to see her and then he takes the bus back up.”

Boston Bar residents have come together by writing letters to the Passenger Transportation Board. Tillotson herself will compose the letter to be sent on behalf of Canyon Lanes. She added that some have contacted their MLA and MP.

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