Greyhound intends to drop service

But Tofino Bus Services may pick up Campbell River

Greyhound Canada wants to eliminate bus service to and from Campbell River.

The Canadian transportation company has applied to the B.C. Passenger Board to discontinue  its Nanaimo to Campbell River route as well as service between Campbell River and Port Hardy.

Greyhound sent a letter outlining its intentions to the city and that letter was before city council at its Monday night meeting.

Coun. Larry Samson said he’s disappointed in Greyhound’s decision.

“The smaller communities don’t have the opportunity of rail and airlines so I think it’s important to let these large corporations know they can’t just feed off the larger routes,” Samson said. “They do have an obligation and a duty to also service some of the rural communities.

“Some communities, like the District of Port Hardy, this is all they have,” Samson added. “If they don’t drive, this is all they have as their method of transportation.”

Greyhound has tagged the North Island in the past in an effort to come up with some savings.

The company was given approval by the B.C. Passenger Board in 2013 to reduce service on 15 of its routes, including the Nanaimo to Campbell River run, after citing a loss of $14.1 million on its passenger operations in B.C. in its 2011/12 fiscal year.

Greyhound said in its current application to eliminate the North Island routes that the organization continues to suffer, losing $12.5 million in its 2013/14 fiscal year and projecting a loss of $12.8 million in 2015 on its B.C. operations.

Greyhound attributes those losses to a number of factors, including higher costs for fuel and maintenance, reduced ridership, and competition from other inter-city bus operations.

In 2013/14 the average passenger load on the Campbell River to Nanaimo route was 11, compared to 15 in 2011/12 and from Nanaimo to Campbell River, average ridership was at 12, down from 14 in 2011/12.

Greyhound further justified its move to eliminate its North Island bus service by acknowledging that another carrier has already come forward to pick up the slack.

Tofino Bus Services has applied to the Passenger Board to operate bus service on the routes Greyhound wishes to discontinue.

“All Island Express routes will offer at least the same level of service to your community as you are now getting,” wrote Dylan Green, founder and president of Tofino Bus Services, in a letter to city council. “Depending on the approval process, there may be no interruption in service.”

Mayor Andy Adams said he was impressed with the company’s efforts.

“Tofino Bus is really stepping up to the plate to fill a need for all the communities and have certainly identified that they will provide the same service, if not better,” Adams said.

Council agreed to send a letter thanking Tofino Bus Service, as well as to Greyhound, opposing its decision to eliminate service.

Coun. Charlie Cornfield said it’s important council stresses its desire to have bus service remain intact on the North Island, no matter who is providing the service.

“I think we should insist that bus service be maintained to all North Island communities,” Cornfield said.

“Whether or not that is maintained through Greyhound or Tofino Bus Services is not a concern to me, but the service is and I think it should be strongly worded that we insist that bus service be maintained between the communities.”