Greyhound cuts: Containing the rage

For those of you not living on the moon, the Monday’s news that Greyhound plans to cease all operations on their routes in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC will be well known by now. We dudes have taken a few days to process and dampen our rage that the virtual end of intercity ground transportation (given that VIA is a nonentity in the West and Saskatchewan did away with their provincial bus company recently) in much of our country has, thus far, elicited a collective shrug from Canadians at large.

While this rage is still not completely controlled on my part, I did manage to put together a halfway coherent letter to my member of Parliament this week. Shaun and I will be writing on this in the coming weeks but for now, I have added a copy of the letter for your reading pleasure.

Good afternoon Minister Freeland and team, 

I’m reaching out to you as a constituent of yours in University Rosedale. The purpose of this email is to express my concern at the recent announcement by Greyhound Canada that they will cease operations of all intercity buses in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC as of this fall; as well as other cuts in Northern Ontario. 

Although, as a resident of Toronto, I will not be directly affected by the cuts that have been announced; they do set a grave precedent for all public transport across this country. 

Since coming to office, your government has laudably invested in municipal transit projects; which serve to reduce car dependence in our cities, lessen greenhouse gas emissions and give people more choice in how they get around. As well, your party has committed to funding various VIA rail improvements, showing that you understand intercity (and intercommunity) public transit is as essential as local transit. 

Much has been written in the media these past few days about how the Greyhound cuts will affect rural and aboriginal communities. Obviously, these are important to spotlight but I will add to them by pointing out that once there are no more Greyhound buses in the West, relatively large cities (such as Kelowna, with approx. 125,000 people) will have no intercity transit at all by either bus or rail. This is an absurd situation for a developed country. 

This is why I hope the federal government will work with the affected provinces and local governments to support alternative bus companies should they enter the West and if none are willing in a particular corridor, I would push all authorities to consider publicly run services. True, some will make noise about the cost but when all levels of government spend billions subsidizing highway and airport maintenance, this opposition should rightly be discounted. 

I have sent a copy to Minister Amarjeet Sohi as well; since my question falls under his purview as infrastructure minister and as a representative from a city losing intercity bus service.

I await a positive response from your office. 

Regards,

Vincent Puhakka

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