The Greyhound signs at the bus depot on Second Avenue in Whitehorse won’t be around too much longer, since the bus company announced Feb. 21 it is officially cutting it’s Yukon route. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Greyhound’s plans to axe B.C., Yukon bus routes get approved

Company says B.C. services have lost $70M over last decade

The B.C. Passenger Transportation Board has officially approved Greyhound’s plans to shutter a series of northern bus routes including the only one that goes into the Yukon.

The board approved Greyhound’s application to cut routes because of millions of dollars in losses due to declining ridership.

In a written decision issued earlier this week the board says passenger demand for the service has declined 46 per cent since 2010.

It says routes that were once profitable are no longer providing enough revenue for the company that receives no subsidies and has lost $70 million in B.C. over the last six years.

Among the routes that will get the axe is the Dawson Creek, B.C., to Whitehorse route that includes stops in Watson Lake and Teslin.

“We regret having to do this and we appreciate that these changes will be difficult for our customers and staff,” said Stuart Kendrick, Greyhound Canada’s senior vice president, in a statement.

“These route eliminations are an important step toward becoming a viable, streamlined intercity bus service as we address declining passenger ridership.”

The statement said freight service will continue: Greyhound plans to set up “partnership agreements to continue services for our freight customers.”

The board said Greyhound can’t eliminate the routes before June 1, 2018.

Calls to Greyhound asking for more information about the Yukon route were not returned in time for today’s deadline.

Watson Lake’s chief administrative officer Cam Lockwood said the end of the bus route will inconvenience people in the community.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty because Alcan Air is the only other service that comes in here and Alcan just reduced their flights to Mondays and Fridays starting March 1st,” he said. “So they’ve cancelled their Wednesday flight. So now it really makes it hard for people that have to travel.”

Last year Greyhound pitched that a fund be created to subsidize bus companies working in rural communities.

Yukon’s Highways and Public Works Minister Richard Mostyn said he had “cordial” conversations with officials from Greyhound but the idea of the fund was never brought up.

Mostyn has maintained that the Yukon government will not subsidize a private company. His opinion hasn’t changed, he said.

“I’m not gong to subsidize a money-losing venture that the professionals in the business can’t make money at.”

Mostyn said he’s also not going to pressure the federal government to wade in where he’s not willing to go.

If there’s money to be made, Yukon businesses will step in, he said.

“Across the territory people have made do without bus service forever. This is certainly going to inconvenience some people … in that corridor between Whitehorse and Watson Lake but there are plenty of other people who have never had bus service in the territory.”

Lockwood said the community has had inquires from someone about possibly setting up a taxi service but nothing official has come of that.

Watson Lake MLA Patti McLeod agrees that Greyhound should not be subsidized by the government.

“In the absence of Greyhound bus service I suppose there is an opportunity for the private sector to step in. I think government could help with that process by having discussions with communities and potential operators and coming up with innovative ways to help them succeed,” she said.

McLeod suggested the government reduce taxes and look at ways of eliminating red tape to help businesses.

She said the community relied on the bus particularly to get to Whitehorse for medical appointments.

“It’s an added cost for rural Yukoners to get to Whitehorse to receive medical treatment and with Greyhound ceasing service it just puts a whole other level of stress on patients.”

With files from the Canadian Press

Contact Ashley Joannou at ashleyj@yukon-news.com

Bus serviceGreyhound

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley speak at a COVID-19 update press conference in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. On Nov. 24, Silver and Hanley announced masks will be mandatory in public places as of Dec. 1, and encouraged Yukoners to begin wearing masks immediately. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Masks mandatory in public places starting on Dec. 1

“The safe six has just got a plus one,” Silver said.

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read