Greyhound Canada is shutting down all of its remaining bus routes in Canada, permanently.
The bus company says all of its remaining routes will cease operations as of midnight Thursday.
The iconic bus carrier pulled out of Western Canada in 2018.
It then put its remaining routes in Ontario and Quebec on pause when COVID-19 hit in 2020, but now it is pulling out of domestic Canadian service permanently.
“A full year without revenue has unfortunately made it impossible to continue operations,” spokesperson Stuart Kendrick said. “We deeply regret the impact this has on our staff and our customers, as well as the communities we have had the privilege of serving for many years.”
Greyhound Canada has been in operation in one form or another for more than a century.
Anthony Perl, a professor of urban studies at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C., says the news did not come as a surprise, since the company’s business model has been on a slow decline.
“They’re a for-profit company and they’ve proven after trying for decades that you cant make a profit trying these routes with relatively small populations,” he said in an interview.
He says governments need to step up to fill the gap to ensure that bus-based transportation networks can exist, either by subsidizing them the way urban bus systems are, or by helping to develop a hybrid model such as a co-operative.
“Bus services are an essential part of the future because of their lower environmental impact,” he said. “We just have to think of a way to make it economically viable.”
While Greyhound bus service between Canadian destinations will end, Greyhound’s U.S. parent will continue to operate five cross-border routes that either start or finish in the U.S. They are:
- Toronto to Buffalo, N.Y.
- Toronto to New York City
- Montreal to Boston
- Montreal to New York City
- Vancouver to Seattle
Federal Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said the government was “disappointed” by the news because so many communities depend on bus service.
“We will work with our provincial partners to explore options to address this gap and provide Canadians with safe, reliable and affordable transportation across the country,” he said in a Twitter post.
Please read my statement on Greyhound: <a href=”https://t.co/pF6KuW8QAa”>pic.twitter.com/pF6KuW8QAa</a>
The company says anyone with a ticket booked can get a refund up until the end of June.
The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU), which represents workers at the bus line, says about 300 jobs will be lost as a result of the decision, and governments must bear some of the blame.
“The collapse of Greyhound was not a foregone conclusion; this could have been avoided if our federal and provincial governments actually cared about those in remote communities who relied on intercity bus service,” ATU president John Di Nino said.
Perl says communities and groups most likely to be negatively impacted by the disappearance of Greyhound are those that were already disadvantaged to begin with.
“It’s often groups that have been treated less than fairly as a whole, first nations communities, women of colour … You’re really condemning people to economic and social isolation,” he said.
“Marginalized groups will be most affected.”