Greyhound looking for rural route support for subsidy ask

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen wants more info before providing support to Greyhound

Is it fair to subsidize one bus system over another is a question regional politicians are going to have to consider in the New Year.

At Thursday’s Regional District Okanagan-Similkameen meeting directors discussed a recent request from Greyhound Canada to provide written support for the private company to be subsidized by the province so rural routes did not have to be impacted.

Greyhound has applied to the province’s Passenger Transportation Board to stop passenger service to Princeton, Hedley and Keremeos by re-routing the Osoyoos to Vancouver route through Kelowna.

Several other routes throughout the province are also on the chopping block including busing in northern rural communities along the Highway of Tears and many others.

The company has cited financial reasons stating the routes are not financially viable as there is minimal ridership.

Directors met with Greyhound officials in late November during a legislative workshop and heard first-hand some of the challenges facing the large bus company.

“They said they’re losing $35,000 a day. They know we’ve all written to them asking for them to keep the bus lines, but we also know that B.C. Transit is subsidized but they (Greyhound) aren’t and if we want to continue to have rural service they say that’s what they need,” Karla Kozakevich, chair of the RDOS, said during discussion about the letter of support.

Kozakevich said the bus company is facing increased private competition on popular routes specifically noting the Vancouver to Whistler routes and that also has an impact on the bottom line of the company.

B.C. Transit has an agreement with and receives partial funding from the RDOS to operate a regional bus system including a route that travels through the Similkameen stopping in Princeton, Hedley, and Keremeos travelling to Penticton. Many routes travel from communities in the South Okanagan to Penticton and there is also a route that travels to Kelowna.

Tom Siddon, director for Area D, noted the B.C. Transit system receives funding from the province and the regional district,

“We’re subsidizing one half of the equation and Greyhound says they’re losing customers to B.C. Transit. What game are we in here?” he asked.

Keremeos Mayor Manfred Bauer said many rural services receive top up funding from the province including the school system. He supports looking further into Greyhound receiving some financial help so rural people have equal access to a busing service.

“Other than the handy dart in the Similkameen transportation is really sad,” he said, adding. “I actually think it’s a good move on Greyhound. They’re saying if you want to keep rural transportation we need some help.”

Staff will prepare a report looking more in-depth into the matter of regional transportation sometime in the New Year.

Just Posted

Apex hosting Canadian selections mogul event

Apex Freestyle Club along with some local competitors from the B.C. Freestyle Ski team are competing

Video: Update one man arrested in Okanagan Falls

The RCMP has requested the school go into lockdown

Okanagan Taste: Favourite food and drinks of the past year

When it comes to food and drink, the most frequent questions I… Continue reading

Christmas hamper volunteers pitch in to give back to Penticton

Volunteers begin work in preparation for Salvation Army hamper distribution

New acting vice principal for Penticton Secondary School

The Board of Education of School District No. 67 (Okanagan Skaha) announced a new appointment

What’s happening

Find out about the events happening in your community this weekend

Column: Make it a green Christmas

Instead of purchasing a cuddly stuffie this year, put your money towards helping the real thing.

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Interior Health holding immunization clinic in Vernon Saturday

IH issues list of Okanagan meningococcal immunization clinics

Court denies WestJet’s bid to toss out discrimination lawsuit of former worker

Mandalena Lewis is suing WestJet over allegations of gender-based discrimination

VIDEO: 3 months later, rescued sea lion released back into ocean

The young animal was found in Campbell River three months ago

Michaels: Big Brother has become a big letdown

“You have nothing to fear if you have nothing to hide, but privacy should still have some appeal.”

Sagmoen neighbours recall alleged hammer attack

Woman was screaming outside Maple Ridge townhouse in 2013

One convicted, two cleared in 2014 deaths of men in B.C.’s Cariboo

Andrew Jongbloets convicted of manslaughter in deaths of Matthew Hennigar, 23 and Kalvin Andy, 22

Most Read