It was the last Greyhound trip out of Whitehorse on Tuesday. And only seven tickets sold.

Driver Brent Church made a last call for his passengers.

“Seven passengers on our last trip out of Whitehorse,” Church said.

It’s actually a little better than the usual average of three passengers on these routes.

Across western Canada, it’s the same picture. That’s why on Wednesday, Greyhound is dropping those routes. The company states it’s losing millions of dollars a year. But many riders are concerned about the future, including those who do not have money for a plane or a train.

On Vancouver Island, the Tofino Bus company took over many of Greyhound’s routes earlier this year.  And another Island-based company is looking to expand by taking over Greyhound runs on the mainland.  John Wilson is the president and CEO of Wilson’s Transportation Ltd.

“We’re going to be starting next week for a couple of Greyhound runs from Vancouver at the Pacific Station, up to Kelowna. And from Vancouver up to Kamloops,” Wilson said.

With more than 140 vehicles, Wilson says they’re ready to fill in the gaps.

“One of the things about a company our size opposed to Greyhound, we can be a little more nimble and make adjustments on the fly as we go,” Wilson said.

With private companies like Wilson’s divvying up Greyhound’s profitable routes, it still leaves a chunk of the province without service. But .C.C’s Transportation Minister, Claire Trevena, hopes more companies step up.

“Greyhound has pulled out, and we’ve got a number of operators operating on a number of routes. There are going to be, inevitably some gaps, there’s that 17 per cent. But we’re also seeing innovative service, for instance, there is a shuttle coming out of Merritt which has got five different routes,” Trevena said.

Wilson’s hopes to begin running buses on its new routes early next week.

 

Mary Griffin