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Greyhound leaves gap

Package delivery firms say they are prepared to fill the gap when Greyhound Canada closes most of its Western Canada operations this fall.

The company says its Greyhound Package Express service will no longer be available in most parts of B.C., northern Ontario and all of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba after it ends passenger service at the end of October.

"It might create some opportunities for us on our small package delivery side of things," said Dennis Steele, owner of Steele's Transfer in Calgary.

Transport companies like his compete with Greyhound's lower prices by offering services tailored to customer needs, he said.

Steele said his company, started by his parents in 1957, has about 30 drivers who mainly serve the Edmonton-Calgary corridor, but it offers a wider range of delivery points through interline and third-party carriers.

David Butler, Greyhound's regional vice-president for Eastern Canada, said the areas being closed accounted for about 1.15 million of the 1.2 million packages Greyhound delivers each year, adding about two-thirds of the shipments were made under contract by commercial customers.

Greyhound's freight service cost less than most, but its schedule was also usually less convenient as it depended on the passenger bus schedule, Butler said.

"It's a very competitive marketplace and there's a lot of options for the customers from the package business to look at," he said.

Greyhound said it was ending passenger service after years of adjusting schedules and prices because ridership had fallen by nearly 41 per cent across the country since 2010. Butler said the package service is down 35 per cent in the same period.



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