Kelowna resident Kristina Killkrist uses Greyhound to travel to Alberta and her daughter frequently travels back and forth between Kelowna and Penticton, so news the bus company is scaling back services came as a shock.
The BC Passenger Transportation Board approved reductions this week on 15 Greyhound routes including Kelowna to Penticton, Kelowna to Alberta and Kelowna to Vancouver.
“My daughter takes the bus all the time between Kelowna and Penticton, because she still has friends here, and I go to Alberta at least six times a year ” said Killkrist. “So this is not very accommodating for myself and a lot of passengers.
It seems like city busses offer more services a day than Greyhound.”
Among the changes are the popular Penticton Kelowna route will drop from four trips a day back and forth to two trips.
On the Kelowna to Vancouver route, the trips back and forth will go to five.
The Kelowna to Alberta route on Highway 3 is dropping to one trip daily in each direction.
The primary reason for the change is financial, said Grant Odsen, regional manager of passenger service, Greyhound Canada, BC.
“The very simple reason is the frequency on many of the routes we operate in the province is greater than justified by the ridership on the route,” he said. “As a result the costs have been greater than the revenues. The last fiscal year in BC there was a loss of greater than $14 million.”
Others coming and going from the Penticton Greyhound bus station on Friday were quick to react to the change in Greyhound service.
Kirk Reed of Summerland used Greyhound frequently when he traveled to the oil fields, so he was sorry to hear about the cuts.
“I think there should be a lot of Greyhounds, because I think the service is needed,” he said.
“It means less seats and less choices, so it does bother me,” said Pamela Dianocky of Oliver, as she waited to pick someone up at the station."
But Odsen believes the move allows Greyhound to right- size the business and provide services based on demand.
“We are pleased with the decision the board has given, allowing Greyhound to reduce frequency without abandoning service,” he said. “We gave the provincial government a commitment that we intended to continue service in BC without abandoning any of the communities we serve.”
Here is a list of the impacted routes:
Aberta- Vancouver (Highway 1)
Kelowna – Penticton
Vancouver to Rock Creek
Kelowna – Alberta (Highway 3)
Prince George – Vancouver
Alberta – Dawson Creek (Highway 2)
Dawson Creek – Fort Nelson
Dawson Creek – Prince George
Prince George – Ft. St. James
Prince Rupert – Prince George
Alberta – Vancouver (Highway 16)
Kelowna – Vancouver
Vancouver – Mt. Currie
Victoria – Nanaimo
Nanaimo – Campbell River
The route between Victoria and Mt. Washington Alpine Resort will be eliminated.