Pennell questions proposed bus schedule cutbacks

"It's just a kick in the teeth for rural residents," said the TNRD director for Wells Gray Country (Area A)

A proposal by Greyhound to cut back on its schedule would be bad news for the North Thompson Valley and particularly for small communities such as Vavenby, according to Tim Pennell, Thompson-Nicola Regional District director for Wells Gray Country (Area A).

“It’s just a kick in the teeth for rural residents,” he said.

Whether going north or south, at present the bus only goes into Vavenby during its daytime runs, Pennell said.

People wanting to leave or arrive during the nighttime are picked up or left on the highway. Those wanting to leave at night need to get their tickets the day before (or print them off from the Internet).

If the daytime runs are eliminated, as Greyhound has requested, the situation for residents of small communities such as Vavenby could be far more difficult, Pennell felt.

Clearwater Mayor John Harwood has gone on record as opposing the proposed bus service cutbacks because of the effect they would have on social services.

Greyhound applied last month to reduce its level of service on 15 of its runs, citing losses of $14 million per year.

Service through the North Thompson Valley would be cut back from two runs going east per day and two runs going west to just one going each way. Both of the remaining runs through the Valley would be during the night.

TNRD directors voted during their Oct. 11 board meeting to send a letter to the BC Passenger Transportation Board expressing extreme disappointment regarding the proposed reduction of Greyhound Canada Transportation service and the continued erosion of services to rural communities.

The TNRD also was to send a letter to the provincial government requesting that, in light of the proposed cutbacks in bus transportation and prior cutbacks in Greyhound service routes, the monopoly on bus transportation be reviewed with a focus on local solutions.