Greyhound to axe Canada operation

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Shimbleshanks

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Reports on the BBC radio news and in the Guardian this morning that Greyhound is to axe its entire network in Canada:


Greyhound Canada will permanently cease its intercity bus operations, the company has announced, as losses mounted and ridership plunged from the effects of coronavirus pandemic. News of the company’s exit comes as a heavy blow to rural communities across the country, which have relied on the company’s services for nearly a century.

“It’s been a very tough decision and one we’ve taken with a heavy heart,” Stuart Kendrick, senior vice-president of Greyhound Canada, told the Canadian Press on Thursday. “It’s been a lifeline for many Canadians for more than 90 years. This will have a massive impact.”

Without a nationalized bus network, Canadians in rural swaths of the country have used Greyhound, owned by the UK-based FirstGroup, as a critical intercity transit service.

But the bus line has struggled with declining revenues in recent years, as more people shift to personal automobiles. It has also increasingly found itself competing against VIA Rail, the country’s national rail service, as well as subsidized transit systems and new competitors.
 
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Volvodart

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Firstgroup have been wanting to do this for years, well before Tim O'Toole left, the lack of aid received being used as the excuse to do so.
 

Journeyman

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Firstgroup have been wanting to do this for years, well before Tim O'Toole left, the lack of aid received being used as the excuse to do so.
I wonder if anyone will step into the void? Are there any other long distance coach operators in Canada?
 

Bletchleyite

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I know air is the strongest form of transport in big, spread out countries like Canada and the US, but it seems amazing they can't make coach travel pay in a country that has a very poorly developed rail network.
 

67thave

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I wonder if anyone will step into the void? Are there any other long distance coach operators in Canada?
There are plenty of others. In Ontario (the most populous province and the one where essentially all of Greyhound Canada's remaining services operated), the primary intercity operators are Megabus/Coach Canada (ex-Stagecoach), TOK, and the provincially-owned GO Transit and Ontario Northland companies. Coach Canada controls the lucrative Toronto-Kingston-Montreal corridor, as well as some other southern Ontario routes currently suspended due to COVID, while TOK operates services to some vacation spots popular with Torontonians (Saugeen Shores and Haliburton). GO Transit operates a mixture of train and bus services from Toronto to its suburbs and nearby cities such as Kitchener, Barrie, Peterborough, Niagara Falls, and Brantford, and Ontario Northland essentially controls everything up north, and also runs services linking North Bay to Toronto and Ottawa. In addition, various local government-run regional bus networks outside of Greater Toronto exist, with the most extensive and frequent being found in the Niagara Region.
There's a great interactive map of this network here:

This structure is almost certainly going to change very soon, as Ontario is about to deregulate its intercity bus operations (though GO Transit and Ontario Northland are apparently exempt). Until now, only one company could operate services on each corridor. Greyhound's primary corridor was Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal, and it cross-subsidized the rest of its routes - many of which were doing very poorly because they competed with GO Transit's much more frequent service. Now with deregulation, they'd almost certainly lose the ability to earn cash on that corridor and collapse regardless.

Apparently Orleans Express (Quebec's largest intercity operator and a Keolis subsidiary) has already filed paperwork to take over the Ottawa-Montreal route.
 

67thave

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Can't the government subsidise socially necessary services?
There are a ton of "intercommunity bus services", especially in Southwest Ontario, which are currently being subsidized by three-year provincial grants. Some of these run once a week, while others have multiple trips a day. The question is if they will survive past the three years of initial funding.
 
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