POLITICAL CORNER: The government needs to do something about Greyhound’s service cuts

Photo courtesy of Huffington Post

Written by: Eva Zhu (Opinions Editor) and Liam Wilson (Peak Associate)

Starting October 31, Greyhound Canada will cut passenger and shipping delivery services in British Columbia, the Prairies, and Northern Ontario, citing a decline in ridership and competition from other transit options. The sole route remaining in BC will run from Vancouver to Seattle and be operated by Greyhound’s American counterpart.

The problem? This will impact about two million people, cutting off affordable transport to Indigenous people, and thoopinionsse living in small, rural, and/or lower-income communities. In many cases, this will leave them with no other transport options. Jagmeet Singh, leader of the federal NDP, has probably been the biggest voice to speak out about this issue, noting that lack of bus service may encourage vulnerable people with little money to use Craigslist or hitchhike in order to get a ride, increasing their risk of being murdered or going missing, especially along BC’s infamous Highway of Tears.

We need to get the government to sit up and listen on this one. Frustratingly, Greyhound has said that both provincial and federal governments have known about its problems for years, but haven’t done anything about it. Now, there are people facing the prospect of being disconnected from their jobs, their families, and public services. Singh has it right: the federal government (or at least the provincial governments) need to step in with a funding plan to prevent these service cancellations. If they don’t, they’re putting their citizens in danger.

Greyhound shouldn’t have to operate a loss, but people shouldn’t have to be stranded either, especially when our modern age relies so much on people being connected. Under our constitution, we have freedom of movement, but how can the movement of people be considered free when they are suddenly deprived of safe transportation? Hopefully, questions such as these will spur our government to do the right thing in the weeks to come.