To the editor:
I read with interest the recent viewpoint published by members of the Council of Canadians, and would like to bring important facts to readers’ attention.
First, Greyhound did step up during the summer forest fires that ravaged communities — we made helping residents during this crisis our priority.
We ran our buses until the last possible moments before mandatory road closures were enforced by the authorities, and re-routed our services to continue to move families and ship equipment and parts to help firefighters protect communities.
I am proud of how our staff worked exceptional hours to help our passengers who, in many cases are our neighbours and friends, including how Greyhound worked with our agents in affected communities to provide financial support to those in greatest need to help them get through a difficult time.
When the situation was finally deemed safe, we pulled our drivers from other routes to rest and be ready to resume service on re-opened roads and highways to get families back home. We salute the organizations who organized donation drives and we proudly delivered these necessities to communities at no charge.
Next, we stand by our proven performance and commitment to client service excellence, recognizing that there are always ways to do better. On-time performance by Greyhound buses in B.C. ranks consistently high. We also offer convenient, shared ticketing (this is not unique to public transit) — Greyhound works collaboratively with our interline partners to offer shared ticketing services and seamless transfers. For example, a passenger travelling from Prince George to Tofino will easily move from Greyhound’s service to Tofino bus lines during a Vancouver transfer.
We agree that bus transportation is one of the most environmentally friendly modes offered. When there are full buses with 50 passengers, significant numbers of vehicles are taken off the road, which also enhances road safety.
Finally, we also agree that reliable, sustained highway bus service is essential for the economic health of smaller communities, and the province as a whole. Provinces spend billions of dollars on public transportation in cities but relatively little on transportation in rural and remote communities.
All British Columbians and First Nations should have access to viable and sustainable intercity bus service, and Greyhound has called on the B.C. Government to create a Connecting Communities Fund that would give First Nations, and rural and remote communities the ability to publicly tender any private sector operators, including Greyhound and its competitors, to provide intercity transportation. Given that it would be a competitive process to select the best private sector transportation provider by community, it’s possible that Greyhound would not benefit.
Rural transportation is a pressing issue and Greyhound is working hard to deliver this for our passengers, as we continue to work with governments at all levels to offer solutions that will see B.C. bus services continue for the long term.
Senior Vice President