Singh Calls on Trudeau Government to Save Regional Bus Service
Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is calling on the Prime Minister to step in to save Greyhound bus service in Western Canada.
Singh sent a letter to Justin Trudeau from Terrace Wednesday, where the party leader joined Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Nathan Cullen in a tour of an area already hit by Greyhound service cuts.
Greyhound Canada caught many people off-guard this week, when it announced it would pull out of Western Canada entirely at the end of October ---- despite the fact the bus company had already discontinued its passenger bus service to northern BC and other rural routes at the end of May.
"Unfortunately we saw the cuts to Greyhound services first, but now all of Western Canada is also experiencing," said Cullen, who noted for many people, the bus is their only transit option.
Party leader Singh said he had just sent a letter to Prime Minister Trudeau, requesting government funding to keep bus access available.
"There's massive distances between different communities and without this access -- we've already seen the impacts on the Highway of Tears, the problems around hitchhiking and not having access to ways to move around the community -- it's a safety issue, it's a public safety issue."
When Greyhound service to our region ended, the BC government and local communities came up with their own regional bus service, which the province agreed to fund for at least a year.
But Cullen says federal support is needed: "all the municipalities stepped up; the federal government said that they were supportive, they've been tricky to get actual money out the door."
Greyhound says it's been losing money for quite some time in Western Canada and the service simply wasn't economically viable -- and Singh says this may be a case where public delivery of service makes sense.
"In many sectors, just because it's not profitable doesn't mean we don't deliver the service -- that's why there's a need to have a public option or a public model for delivery of these types of services -- in rural communities and remote communities, sometimes the private sector can't deliver their services and that's why there's a benefit for having a publicly delivered service that's publicly funded," he said.