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Greyhound cuts will cost local jobs

The union representing Greyhound workers says more jobs will be lost in Campbell River if the transportation company goes ahead with plans to reduce its service on Vancouver Island.

Greyhound has filed an application to the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board to reduce service across B.C, including going down to one trip per day between Nanaimo and Campbell River.

Jeannie Blaney, spokesperson for the Canadian Auto Workers Union (CAW) local 114, which represents Greyhound workers on the Island, said the union has submitted its own proposal to the Transportation Board urging it to deny Greyhound’s application. Blaney said if the cuts are approved, there could be serious repercussions.

“Some folks in Campbell River are going to lose their jobs – folks in the Greyhound depot, office workers and drivers,” Blaney said. “I know it for a fact there will be job loss and the employees have been told that. And these are good jobs. In my opinion Campbell River cannot lose anymore employment.”

According to CAW Local 114’s submission to the Transportation Board, 40.25 working hours each week will be lost in each direction on the Campbell River-Nanaimo run. Office staffing in Campbell River, Nanaimo and Victoria combined is expected to be cut by eight full-time employees.

“At prevailing wage rates within the Greyhound operation, this reduction in employment levels will reduce payrolls on the affected routes by over $350,000 per year,” said Jim Stanford, CAW’s chief economist in the submission.

Greyhound is proposing to cut bus runs from Campbell River that have an average passenger load of 20 and 10 riders each.

Grant Odsen, the regional manager of Greyhound, said the company lost $1.4 million on scheduled passenger runs across the province last year and hopes to save $6.75 million annually by eliminating 2.2 million operating miles across B.C.

As part of those cuts, Greyhound is also proposing to completely eliminate a seasonal ski run between Victoria and Mt. Washington which averaged just 2.79 riders northbound and 4.55 passengers on the bus going southbound last year.

The Strathcona Regional District and City of Campbell River has already joined the growing list of unions and governments who have written letters voicing its concerns about the cuts.

Blaney said she strongly encourages everyone who is opposed to Greyhound’s service cuts to sign CAW’s petition at, www.change.org/petitions/stop-greyhound-from-cutting-2-2-million-miles-of-bus-service-in-b-c or write a letter to their local government officials to lobby on their behalf.

“We’re encouraging anyone who’s upset to write why they’re upset. Everybody’s going to know someone who works at the depot or someone who uses the bus to go to Victoria for medical appointments,” Blaney said. “It will also mean less spending money in our communities.”

A small transportation company, Tofino Bus Services Inc., has also applied to the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board to broaden its service and provide one daily service on each of the routes Greyhound is proposing to cut service. Tofino Bus Services is also looking for the public’s support to prove there is a need for the extra service. To lend support go to, www.tofinobus.com/support

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