Greyhound abandons 400 remote communities in Canada


Originally published at:


Some local providers are taking over in some areas and Greycoach may step in. But right now it’s a real patchwork of options. Getting to a location isn’t too bad it’s getting back that’s tricky.


The area also includes some where a lot of missing and murdered women have occured, read native. This may impact on that, since more may count on hitchhiking, and maybe more danger. I think I read that one of the reservations has organized a bus, or maybe the BC government.


If it were solely up to private business who’s only responsibility is to shareholders we would loose lots of services in rural and historically undeserved/poor communities. This is where the refrain of the right and the libertarians to privatize and get the government out of everything falls short.

The only realistic way to fix this sort of issue is for the government to step in and mandate service while providing subsidies to cover the operating shortfall incurred through running these routes. Similar (but not identical) to how rural electrification and telecommunications were handled in the U.S. Unfortunately those programs have largely fallen off too.


It’s time for governments in western Canada to review things back a few decades to see if Greyhound was receiving any bennies and perks for running those routes, the mandatory contracts and subsidies that they took on when they bought out the competition.


A private company that operates for profit stopped running services that were no longer profitable at the expense of the community it served? I’m shocked…

If only there was some type of system that existed where everyone* contributed money towards the common good, and that money was put to use to make sure this sort of thing didn’t happen.

*some exclusions apply.


This is what irks me when people complain about Canada Post. Relying on private corporations for all mail delivery would just mean a cessation of services to unprofitable areas.

I think it’s usually the people in cities who have somehow been convinced that the postal services relies on tax revenue to operate when in fact it generates revenue for the government not only in taxes on all its services but in money it pays to the government coffers.

The weird thing about bus services is that even in southern Ontario, they have stopped servicing communities along the major highways. They drive right through towns that used to be served but they no longer stop there. There should be some kind of optional service where the bus would make those extra stops if someone bought a ticket 48 hours in advance and not stop there if there were no tickets sold but of course they just quit stopping there completely.


So those places would become ghost towns. But the folks in these towns (IMO) vote for “small government” parties.

Except, they want the government to do highway upgrades that bypass their town but allow quick trips to MallWart and Costco in the city.


When I warn people that corporations are less and less willing to serve the less profitable customers, I usually get the answer that “if they don’t want my money, I’ll bring my business to somebody else”.

No, you won’t.


Private corporations will not run connections where they are losing money? I am shocked! Shocked, I say.
That’s why public (state owned) transportation helps. They have to run connections.

Anyway, in some countries, these gaps are filled by community busses/shuttles to the next transportation hub. I guess that’s where this will lead also.



Took the “Hound Dog” [circa 1977] all the way across the United States when pushing off to Military Academy, it was glorious.


Private corporations leave before they are losing money.

Investors demand a particular return on investment (ROI). They may lend money, for example to buy buses, but they demand return, for example 10% per annum. Lines will be cut if they bring less than that.

From the point of the investor, it makes sense to just run the business which brings the most money, say only the lines bringing in 20% and invest the rest in something else than bus lines. Luxury tourist trips, for example.


The US DOT has a program like this that subsidizes air travel to smaller commercial airports through the Essential Air Service program. But for this program my home town would likely have no commercial flights at all, leaving folks a 5 hour round trip to the nearest commercial flight.


Let the market decide . . . who to leave out in the cold.


And now the aliens will take over.


I used to live in a little village that only got one bus a week. It came on Tuesday and returned on Saturday, seriously.
(During term time you can also get a lift on the school bus to a town with regular buses).
Of course, this was in the UK so it was only about an hours walk to the nearest village with a regular bus.


This has been coming for years; greyhound has been very vocal about not being able to service these small town routes profitably and have been trying to get money from local / provincial / federal government agencies to keep things going. No one was prepared to cough up the money so here we are.

It’s almost like providing essential transit services can’t be done profitably so expecting the private sector to take care of it is unreasonable.


Last time I heard about this story, these gigantic buses were almost entirely empty whenever they were running. You’d expect a partial solution to a lack of profitability would be to start running much smaller vehicles with better gas mileage.


For many years in Canada Greyhound (and a couple other big companies) had a monopoly on bus services in exchange for being obligated to serve ALL the routes. The idea was that the plumb routes would compensate for the ones that operated at a deficit. Then the right to monopoly was taken away (around the time of NAFTA if I’m not mistaken) and a bunch of competitors moved in but only took the most profitable routes- allowing them to charge less for tickets (since they didn’t need to compensate for smaller routes). The same was true of phone service and mail delivery. Monopolies granted in exchange for social benefits. For a while the new rules made for competition, but now it’s all collapsing back into monopolies- only without any provision for social benefit.