Greyhound Canada To End Bus Services in Western Provinces!

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NDPP
Greyhound Canada To End Bus Services in Western Provinces!

Greyhound Canada To End Bus Services in Western Provinces

https://twitter.com/CBCBusiness/status/1016396408218378240

 

Greyhound Lobbied Ottawa to Backup Rural Routes For Years to No Avail

https://twitter.com/CBCIndigenous/status/1016817418524594177

 

NWAC Concern For Indigenous Women's Safety Following Greyhound Service Cancellation

https://twitter.com/NWAC_CA/status/1016758864388247552

 

WTF! 

cco

We're already discussing that over here.

6079_Smith_W

Backstop?

That is an interesting way to spin what they really did, which was try to blackmail Manitoba and Alberta into subsidizing them with the threat of pulling service.

What the provinces should have done is set up their own services. Unfortunately I expect Greyhound took Saskatchewan's shutdown of our public transit as a sign that they could do this with impunity. Ontario should yank their license for not providing service in Northwest Ontario, but of course that is not going to happen.

Greyhound isn't cheap, and has never been cheap. Out here even VIARail is a more reasonable option. And for shipping they were twice the price of STC.

quizzical

how much are their properties worth in the downtowns of big cities or even smaller cities?

NDPP

If there's an existing thread this one can be closed. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Ontario should yank their license for not providing service in Northwest Ontario, but of course that is not going to happen.

What licence are you referring to?

If Greyhound were given preferential treatment (e.g. declared the exclusive bus line in Ontario) then attaching a rider demanding service to everywhere would make sense.

But why should Greyhound be on the hook to not just provide service to remote communities, but presumably do it at a loss?  Are there no other bus companies?  And if there are, why not the same requirement for them?  And if there aren't, wouldn't there be someone jumping at the chance to fill the void in the lucrative rural market?

Pondering

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Ontario should yank their license for not providing service in Northwest Ontario, but of course that is not going to happen.

What licence are you referring to?

If Greyhound were given preferential treatment (e.g. declared the exclusive bus line in Ontario) then attaching a rider demanding service to everywhere would make sense.

But why should Greyhound be on the hook to not just provide service to remote communities, but presumably do it at a loss?  Are there no other bus companies?  And if there are, why not the same requirement for them?  And if there aren't, wouldn't there be someone jumping at the chance to fill the void in the lucrative rural market?

The rural market is not profitable. I think the idea is that it should be  a package deal. If the service is nationalized then all routes are serviced not just the  profitable  ones. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
If the service is nationalized then all routes are serviced not just the  profitable  ones.

OK.  Here's to "ViaBus"!

But meanwhile I'm still unclear why this should be Greyhound's Gordian knot to untie.

pietro_bcc

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/greyhound-buses-singh-trudeau-1.4742455

Once again the NDP taking the right wing position. The NDP shouldn't be in the business of advocating for corporate welfare (I'm sorry creating a "funding plan"). I don't live in these areas, but if the bus lines are indeed a necessary service and there are no other corporations who currently or will provide the service create some government run bus lines.

6079_Smith_W

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Ontario should yank their license for not providing service in Northwest Ontario, but of course that is not going to happen.

What licence are you referring to?

I am assuming Ontario governs these things like other provinces.

Here, all carriers are licensed by the Province's Highway Traffic Board. In fact one of the small carriers which tried to replace STC announced that it was starting service before it went through the necessary steps of getting that license. They failed anyway.

Taxi drivers get a license (at the municipal level). Uber has to get a license, or not. We all have to get a license to drive on the road. In the case of public transit those licenses come with conditions. You'd think cutting off half the province might represent such a radical change to the conditions which got them that license might be cause to have that renegotiated.

Or at least a juristiction which cared might find some way to use that agreement.

 

And Magoo, the whole point of providing a public service is that you serve the whole area; you don't just make money off the cream. A company can get away with doing that to a small degree. Cutting off whole provinces is something entirely different. And in the case of Greyhound, like a lot of other companies that have gone through rounds of bankruptcy and being flipped, this has more to do with putting high profits over doing their actual job. That was the complaint when they tried to force Manitoba to pay them to keep lines open several decades ago, and it is probably part of their motivation now.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greyhound_Lines

But actually you are right. The real solution is for government to step up and provide this as a public service.

6079_Smith_W

And yes, he just went there. Probably feeling the heat because he knows he opened the door to Greyhound doing this, former STC Minister Joe Hargrave actually blamed the STC shutdown on the tragic beheading which happened on a Greyhound bus in 2008.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/saskatchewan-transportation-...

Despicable. And of course, we get a whole round of comments about what should be done to the killer as a distraction.

Misfit Misfit's picture

Pietro_bcc wrote:

"Once again the NDP taking the right wing position. The NDP shouldn't be in the business of advocating for corporate welfare (I'm sorry creating a "funding plan"). I don't live in these areas, but if the bus lines are indeed a necessary service and there are no other corporations who currently or will provide the service create some government run bus lines."

I 100% agree with this.

 

6079_Smith_W

The real solution isn't a big secret. One wonders why they have difficulty hearing the Saskatchewan wing of the party. Or seeing what the BC NDP are doing:

https://www.saskndp.ca/bring_back_stc

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-northern-bus-transit-...

Or better still, using what they have already - VIARail, and getting it some designated track. After all, the government was willing to invade the west and start a war at one point. What's the problem now?

Misfit Misfit's picture

It costs $1,000,000.00 to install 1 mile of rail track. For all you metric enthusiasts out there which isn't me btw, that is 1.6 km.

Pogo Pogo's picture

It is hard not to see the connection to carbon. I think in BC at least we should be using this as an opportunity to extend public transit using the carbon tax revenue.  Not just taking over the bus line and putting a government sticker on it, but creating a seamless connection.  You take the bus from Smithers to Prince George and the bus stops at a major transit loop where your ticket can be used on local transit. Contract with remote industries to provide transit service. 

Pogo Pogo's picture

Misfit wrote:

It costs $1,000,000.00 to install 1 mile of rail track. For all you metric enthusiasts out there which isn't me btw, that is 1.6 km.

I guess the pushback question would be how much is it costing in Saskatchewan to tear up rail lines?

6079_Smith_W

Nah. Rail isn't worth it:

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/canadian-national-earnings-1.4221391

Let's do the math on highway construction and repair (which is even higher), plus the fact that the internal combustion engine has a limited future. And that it isn't that hard to build electric infrastructure along with those rail lines, as they manage to do elsewhere in the world., including Australia.

VIA Rail already runs in western Canada. It is already cheaper than the bus. All it needs to run on time is designated  (not necessarily new) track.

 

Misfit Misfit's picture

Since the rail lines have ripping up vast amounts of track, farmers have had to deliver their grain to elevators that are farther away and as Smith said are wrecking our highways. It is not just farmers semis, transport trucks are pulverizing our highways.

they are wrecking the grids as well

NorthReport

Dp 

NorthReport

Greyhound should never have had a policy of allowing beheading passengers as that is what killed the business. 

6079_Smith_W

Not funny.

Paladin1

NorthReport wrote:

Greyhound should never have had a policy of allowing beheading passengers as that is what killed the business. 

Ban knives

Sean in Ottawa

Paladin1 wrote:

NorthReport wrote:

Greyhound should never have had a policy of allowing beheading passengers as that is what killed the business. 

Ban knives

But it was on a bus so ban buses. Oh, wait a minute....

6079_Smith_W

Paladin1 wrote:

Ban knives

... and about as exploitative as out minister's abuse of that tragedy.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
And Magoo, the whole point of providing a public service is that you serve the whole area; you don't just make money off the cream.

I've asked a couple of times -- maybe you can answer? -- whether there are ANY other bus companies out west, and whether there's a similar onus on them to serve everybody.

Certainly any publicly owned services should serve all Canadians, if they're funded by all Canadians.  But businesses seem to want to go where they can do business.  If a Walmart closes one of its stores because it's doing poorly, we don't expect them to leave it open anyway as a condition of operating anywhere else.

Quote:
That was the complaint when they tried to force Manitoba to pay them to keep lines open several decades ago, and it is probably part of their motivation now.

Again, if those lines were profitable, but Greyhound either wanted subsidies or wanted out, some other carrier should have agreed to accepts those profits.  But if we agree those lines probably weren't profitable, it's still curious why Greyhound (and only Greyhound) had any obligation to act as a charity to subsidize those lines.  They're not a provincial monopoly, they're just a company.

6079_Smith_W

I did answer you.

I pointed out that this was not so much a problem of consolidating service as it was using the line as a cash cow, which is what the attempts to pressure governments for money in the past was.

It is also why I don't buy their line that this wasn't profitable. It would have just meant putting some actual effort into working for their money.

I am glad they are shutting down. I only hope the governments affected do the right thing - not give in to what is probably another round of blackmail.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I did answer you.

I don't think you answered my actual question.  I'll try to be more clear:

Are there other bus companies out west that you could NAME?  And is the same onus on them to provide province-wide service?

It doesn't matter why Greyhound is withdrawing -- maybe the government called their bluff, or maybe they're having a giant hissy, or maybe they want to tell shareholders that this is why the dividends will be small this quarter -- if those lines are profitable, someone will find a way to service them.  People standing around waving money in the air don't get ignored for long.

In the interest of clarity though, do you believe:

a) those western rural lines are profitable, but Greyhound is just trying to blackmail a few extra dollars from the government(s) by pretending they aren't, and then ultimately withdrawing?

b) those western rural lines aren't profitable, but there's a legal onus on Greyhound to subsidize them with profits from other serviced areas?

I get that Canada Post should and does deliver mail to Yukon.  But I don't see any logic in demanding that Purolator also deliver to Yukon if they don't wish to, and I see even less logic in demanding that of Purolator but not of UPS.

Misfit Misfit's picture

I am wondering what impact the shutting down of the STC and liquidating all the bus depots had on this decision by greyhound in Saskatchewan anyway.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I am wondering what impact the shutting down of the STC and liquidating all the bus depots had on this decision by greyhound in Saskatchewan anyway.

If Greyhound used, and was reliant, on depots built and owned by STC then this would certainly have a negative impact on their business in SK.

On the other hand, if the provincially-owned competition folded, one would think Greyhound's revenues would predictably increase,  yes?

But Smith did note upthread that Greyhound's parcel rates were significantly more than STC's parcel rates, so it's not obvious how Greyhound was much competition for a cheaper STC.  And yet STC declared that only 2 of its 27 routes were not operated at a loss.  It's sounding less and less like Greyhound are just a bunch of greedy fucks who can't settle for a modest profit.  Sounds more like a bus, with three passengers, is a shitty business proposition (and FWIW, a terrible carbon footprint).

6079_Smith_W

No Magoo, you are begging the question.

There is a difference between not being able to profitably run a business and running a business into the ground.

Fact is, virtually all the lines Greyhound had out west were major routes. All they did here in Saskatchewan was the #1 and the #16. And when STC was running Greyhound charged more for tickets (also more than VIA) and close to double for parcel post. They are still far more expensive than Canada Post. Where was that money going?

Greyhound has been dropping lines for years. No one forced them not to, and no one is forcing them to stay now. So what are you talking about there being an onus?

My point is I don't buy for a minute that it was just about not being able to make money. What it is is a demonstration that they are not interested in providing a viable service, even though they are willing to gouge riders on the routes they had.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/greyhound-drops-12-bus-routes-in...

Businesses and their apologists like to complain that they are just at the mercy of the free market. More often than not though, situations like this are driven by laziness, indifference and greed.

VIA managed to make it work, even though they only have two trains a week running each way now.

https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/via-rail-reports-double-digit-grow...

For that matter, at the time our government announced the shutdown of STC the company was trying to adapt to changing ridership. They had ordered a fleet of smaller busses which were never used - they were sitting on the lot at the time of the shutdown.

So I don't buy that Greyhound had no options here. There were plenty of things they could have done to stay in business here if they cared at all. They have demonstrated a number of times over the past several decades that they do not.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
There is a difference between not being able to profitably run a business and running a business into the ground.

OK.  But a publicly traded company has a fiduciary duty to investors to earn profits.  They cannot say (because they had a moral epiphany) "and we're also going to keep running these lines as a charity, because it's the right thing to do".

Quote:
Where was that money going?

To the CEO's private jet fund, maybe.  Who cares?

The better question is why, if Greyhound (because of crass greed, or whatever) was more expensive, could STC not manage to be viable when charging (as you claim) HALF as much?

Quote:
Greyhound has been dropping lines for years. No one forced them not to, and no one is forcing them to stay now. So what are you talking about there being an onus?

It seems like some people think that they should be forced to stay and provide service.  Weren't you one of those people?  As a condition of their licence and such?  That's the onus.

Quote:
VIA managed to make it work, even though they only have two trains a week running each way now.

Is VIA subsidized?  Or are they making it on their own?

 

 

6079_Smith_W

As for other companies. It is kind of unfortunate that some of them - like Grey Goose in Manitoba - got scooped up by Greyhound. So it sounds like they might be gone too.

But Red Arrow has been running in Alberta from Fort Mac to Lethbridge to Cold Lake for 35 years. No sign of them shutting down, and they have even partnered with VIA Rail.

So some of them are clearly managing to survive.

6079_Smith_W

Oh... that's what you were talking about.

What I said was that if they were going to cut service to half the province  - half the country, in fact - one of the options a province might have is to look at the terms of their license for leaving people high and dry (including people trying to get from Toronto to Vancouver) That is not the same as saying they have an obligation to cover the entire province. They have been cutting routes for years.

But dropping half the country? At what point are the even a bus line any more? If I was the B.C. government I would certainly be questioning why they should get to keep a line from Seattle to Vancouver after what they have just done.

And why not? If you want to talk freedom there is no obligation on the part of provinces to give them a license at all.

 

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
What I said was that if they were going to cut service to half the province  - half the country, in fact - one of the options a province might have is to look at the terms of their license for leaving people high and dry (including people trying to get from Toronto to Vancouver) That is not the same as saying they have an obligation to cover the entire province. They have been cutting routes for years.

OK.  I guess the part that remains unclear to me is how Greyhound (a British-owned company, headquartered in Texas, BTW) owes a unique debt to the people -- any people.  It still comes back to whether and why a company should operate as a charity out of the goodness of their corporate "heart".  I'm assuming that their licence -- any of them -- was not made conditional on this service.

Quote:
But dropping half the country?

Sears Canada just dropped the whole country.  Is that twice as bad?

Quote:
If I was the B.C. government I would certainly be questioning why they should get to keep a line from Seattle to Vancouver after what they have just done.

And if you denied them that route (nevermind for the moment if you permitted other carriers that route) I guess I'd have some questions about how committed you are to helping people get where they want to go.

If some discount grocery store closes 7 of 10 locations, leaving people suddenly unable to buy affordable food locally, who would you really be punishing if you nullified the business licences of the remaining three locations?

Quote:
And why not? If you want to talk freedom there is no obligation on the part of provinces to give them a license at all.

The Provincial governments have the right to attach conditions to the issuing of licences.  They can feel free to stipulate that any carriers operating in the province must serve the whole province.  But then they can't say "Oh, and a cross-province ticket should not exceed $25, and you must run on the hour, and the half-hour on holidays and Sundays" and reasonably expect any carrier to consider that worth their while.

 

Pogo Pogo's picture

There is no way that Greyhound is cutting to the bone a profitable service simply as a ploy to get a subsidy.

6079_Smith_W

@ Pogo

No, it isn't just about a subsidy. But if you look at their corporate record a good deal of what got them to the bone is their own way of doing business. And I am sure a lot of it does have to do with them being an American company with a lot bigger concerns who don't care about western Canada. But the fact remains there are companies that do manage to stay afloat.

And Magoo, you seem to be spinning this as us expecting things from Greyhound. I don't expect anything from them, but the fact is that like Sears they have not been the best corporate citizens, and they bear a lot of the blame for what they are doing now. Unfortunately too, they may be taking some of the smaller carriers they bought along with them.

So I see no reason why government should do them any favours, or worse, start cutting them cheques.

 

 

 

6079_Smith_W

And actually, in B.C., Greyhound had to apply for and get approval for its last round of cuts - to service along the Highway of Tears - back in February.

https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/greyhound-canada-to-implement-bc-p...

So in some jurisdictions the province does get to tell them what they can and cannot do, if they want to continue to do business.

And why not. They aren't just selling wrench sets and mattresses. They are a public service.

 

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
And Magoo, you seem to be spinning this as us expecting things from Greyhound. I don't expect anything from them

But you seem to think they should do as you wish or suffer a penalty.  How is that any different from expecting something of them??

Smith wrote:
You'd think cutting off half the province might represent such a radical change to the conditions which got them that license might be cause to have that renegotiated.

Or at least a juristiction which cared might find some way to use that agreement.

It makes no sense to say "well, I expect nothing of them, but if they don't grant my wishes then here's what I think their punishment for that should be..."

Quote:
So in some jurisdictions the province does get to tell them what they can and cannot do, if they want to continue to do business.

Quote:
The PTB ruled in favour of its request to eliminate and reduce service on routes that have seen a significant ridership drop in recent years. The PTB has rendered a decision that will enable Greyhound Canada to be nimble and responsive to our customers' needs and to market demand.

Ya, they totally made them crawl on their knees.

Misfit Misfit's picture

I don't believe for a minute that Greyhound was losing money on their two main lines through Saskatchewan. They operated both a parcel service and a passenger service.

and I don't appreciate the term running a bus line as a charity. Western Canada is not a charity.

Pogo Pogo's picture

I used to ride Greyhound to my weekend mill job when I was at UVic.  Rode it to Salmon Arm last year to meet up with my cousin to go to a funeral in Tisdale. They have been in Canada a long time. My guess is that the nature of transit has changed and they are not willing, unable, or don't even know the changes they need to run a profitable business. I still think the answer is for the government to take it under the public transit umbrella. Right now when the news talks about public transit expenditures people outside of urban area simply hear "spending on somebody else's needs".  Public transit should mean something to everybody.

6079_Smith_W

The government does set conditions and approve changes for businesses that provide a public service. In the case of utilities they sometimes even set the rates they are allowed to charge.

And in the case I just cited, they gave approval for the shut-down of a bus route.

As for this "they owe us" rhetoric, I think you are having this conversation with yourself; I have straightened you out a couple of times on the fact I did not say that.

And I didn't say anything about penalties either;  if a company can't make a go of virtually any route in a province it does call into question how well they can manage the one route they claim they can still handle. They just cut northern B.C. a few months ago, in the middle of winter. Now they are dropping everything except Seattle? Seems to me the government has a responsibility to the people of the province to consider if they are up to the job or if there are more surprises down the line. Same thing for Central Canada.

I have pointed out that Greyhound has put profits before good service, and has pressured governments in that too. So I don't buy that this is something that they were forced into.

Expecting public companies to act responsibly and not abuse the privilege, they enjoy and not leave passengers in the lurch is not the same as saying "they owe us". It is making sure they are up to the job. It is not something they are entitled to. It is a privilege.

And Pogo. Look at their recent history in that Wikipedia listing. They aren't even the same people anymore.

 

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Some friends of mine recently travelled to Finland and I was impressed by how easy and cost-effective it was for them to travel by land to all points in the country. Here is an overview of their transport system:

http://www.discoveringfinland.com/travel/public-transportation/

Pogo Pogo's picture

For all I know they are winding down the bus lines so they can take the money and invest in bitcoin mining. If the business makes money hand over fist there will be a lineup of other companies to take over the business.  I somehow doubt it. Wringing our hands over Greyhounds decision is not going to get us to a solution.

6079_Smith_W

No. As I said, part of me is glad they are leaving. I just hope government does the right thing in response. Mainly not try and throw a wad of cash at them to try and get them to stay.

That said, I did hear a report this evening of a Thunder Bay carrier looking to expand into Manitoba. So who knows.

quizzical

Greyhound made their money off of the public's purse for decades just like the trucking and private bus companies do. our highways get beaten down we pay for them and they profit.

in the summer and christmas and springbreaks it's nearly impossible to just hop on greyhound through here. you have to reserve way in advance.

but the whole northern BC trantrum was because other transportation services are cutting into their turf. northern health operates bus services between communities twice a week. then the west of PG highway of tears bus started to cover the needs of the people greyhound wasn't. so their PG west and feed to PG from south and east profits disappeared on the bus side not the freight side.

Vancouver Island got a new company last year or the year before and seem to be doing fine.

the new provincial northern bus service comes here twice a week now on Mondays and Fridays and we have health buses to PG on Tuesdays and 'loops on Thursdays so you can get out 4 days a week by mass transit now. better than nothing though.

there are hundreds of tour buses going by everyday though. this needs to change. better via could help. or a provincial service dedicated to moving tourists too would hekp imv.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

2 Canadian bus companies say they want to fill void left by Greyhound

Quote:
Some Canadian bus companies say they're willing and able to fill parts of the void left by Greyhound when the carrier announced this week that it would soon halt most of its operations in Western Canada.

A Charlottetown-based bus company that stepped in six years ago when the Maritimes lost a major regional bus service says it would be interested in expanding its reach to new markets.

That's literally how it's supposed to work.  As I said, lots of people waving their money in the air won't be ignored for long.

Misfit Misfit's picture

Magoo,

i don't think that many people are going to oppose this expansion into western Canada by a Charlottetown company.

But here is the ultimate problem. What if some lines prove to be unprofitable? People in remote areas still need to get around. If pure market capitalism does not prove to be successful, what then?

some people are suggesting that this situation is about providing a necessary service. It transcends the simplistic right-wing profit motive mantra.

Some have been suggesting that the government needs to step in and provide the service because it is essential to many Canadians living in remote communities.

6079_Smith_W

It is the case in Saskatchewan, at least with Greyhound eating into the market (and without the changes to smaller busses which STC was planning when it was shut down).  The annual subsidy was $17 million.

That is likely not the same in a bigger or more concentrated market like the city corridor in Alberta. But plenty of people here thought it was worth it as a public service.

Plus without Greyhound in the picture, and with smaller busses that subsidy would not be as high.

So the short answer (mine anyway), is yes, it is worth it as a public investment, same as the money we invest in the roads those busses travel on.

But the question of Greyhound's responsibility is an entirely different question, and them claiming to not be able to make a go of major highway routes is hard to believe.

Misfit Misfit's picture

@Smith,

i agree.

Misfit Misfit's picture

How do you put a dollar value on indigenous people needing to get to Prince Albert from Lac La Ronge or little old ladies needing to get to their doctors appointments from Fafloofaloof to Regina and back.

it is a service and it is a need and it is unethical. Northern and rural western Canada still need to travel and as Smith wrote earlier that it was a major transportation route from Toronto to Vancouver.

Pogo Pogo's picture

What is the change in demographics in Saskatchewan. When I was out last year the towns I knew growing up were disappearing.  It seems like big agriculture is eroding rural populations. 

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