Changes to Greyhound bus routes across B.C. will affect riders in the Okanagan.
While routes in the valley are not listed as being on the chopping block as they are in other parts of the province, the company has won approval from B.C.’s Passenger Transportation Board to reduce service on two trips per week in each direction out of Kelowna.
The routes include between Kelowna and Penticton, Kamloops,Vancouver and the Alberta border.
The board is also allowing Greyhound to eliminate nine routes in B.C.—six in northern B.C, one on Vancouver Island, one between Vancouver and Whistler and another between Victoria and Vancouver.
Greyhound says there has been a 30 per cent drop in ridership over the last five years on the nine routes it is cutting, equating to a loss in revenue of $35,000 a day, or $70 million.
“We regret having to do this and appreciate the board’s acknowledgement of the difficult circumstances under which we’ve been operating over the past several years,” Stuart Kendrick, Greyhound’s senior vice president, said in a statement.
On the route between Kelowna and Kamloops, Greyhound will also cut what is called “point-of-service” stops, including Oyama, Falkland, Westwold and Monte Lake.
B.C.’s Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Claire Trevena called the decision to cut routes and reduce frequency “unfortunate,” adding people rely on Greyhound’s long-haul, inter-city bus service to get to and from major cities.
“Eliminating and reducing service along rural and remote routes will leave people vulnerable, particularly Indigenous communities, women, seniors, children and those living with disabilities,” she said in a statement.
She added the government plans to work closely with communities to find safe, reliable and affordable long-haul transportation, particularly in northern B.C., to ensure continued bus service for those who depend on it.
The changes are expected to be made as of the end of May.
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