Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako (RDBN) directors are split on whether they should fight for Greyhound to stay.
Greyhound Canada has filed an application with the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board to discontinue passenger service on five routes, including their daily route through Burns Lake.
RDBN directors have recently discussed whether the RDBN should submit a letter to the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board asking them to deny Greyhound’s application.
“While it’s an essential service, I just don’t have confidence that Greyhound is the way to go,” said Mark Fisher, Director of Electoral Area A (Smithers Rural). “There are other services that could be developed.”
“I don’t support forcing a business to keep going when they don’t have that desire – otherwise they would’ve made some changes, or come talk to us,” he continued. “I’d rather take the approach of initiating conversation with other service providers.”
“We can invite Greyhound to the table, but they haven’t taken leadership,” he added. “I’d rather work with allies as opposed to people who are not leaders.”
Burns Lake Mayor Chris Beach said Greyhound is to trying to use BC Transit’s new Hwy. 16 bus service as a scapegoat to withdraw services.
“That’s not very legitimate because their [Greyhound’s] passenger service has been deteriorating,” said Beach. “They are not making an effort to provide a good service.”
“To me, they just really want to use the current situation to get them out of it,” he added. “I don’t think they should be using BC Transit as an excuse; they should’ve been making a better effort over the years.”
Fort St. James Mayor Rob MacDougall called Greyhound’s attempt to withdraw services a “cop-out.”
“I don’t know when the last time was that Greyhound came to the board or council chambers to have a chat, but I’ve never seen them; they’ve never come to express their problems, or to see if we can assist them in any way,” said MacDougall. “I don’t think we should let them get away with it.”
MacDougall added that although Greyhound only operates once a day, it’s an essencial service for northern B.C. residents.
“It’s an option, and I think we need to keep those options.”
RDBN chair Bill Miller agreed that although Greyhound has not been making an effort to provide good passenger services, he thinks that the RDBN board should fight for them to stay.
“The only reason that I will be supporting this motion [to ask the B.C.Passenger Transportation Board to deny Greyhound’s application] is because I think that in the short term, at this point in time, for a lot of our communities Greyhound is a critical transportation piece that the BC Transit does not yet do,” said Miller.
“My long-term vision is to see something more credible and more robust in terms of transportation,” he added.
In the end, the RDBN board voted to write a letter to the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board expressing the concerns voiced during the meeting and asking them to deny Greyhound’s application.