Stetski calls on Minister of Transportation to fill gap left in rural communities by Greyhound

The Greyhound Canada service closure is a crisis for rural Canada, and one that must be addressed as soon as possible.

by
Wayne Stetski, MP for Kootenay Columbia.

Wayne Stetski, MP for Kootenay Columbia. — Photo courtesy Government of Canada

Following the Greyhound Canada services closure announcement, constituents across my riding of Kootenay Columbia have told me how the loss of these essential services will detrimentally impact them and their communities. Attached is a letter written to the Minister of Transport, the Honourable Minister Marc Garneau, relaying how this tremendous gap will impact and further isolate the people of Kootenay Columbia. This is a crisis for rural Canada, and one that must be addressed as soon as possible. I look forward to his response, and towards working collaboratively on this important and urgent matter.

Dear Minister Garneau, 

Earlier this week, Greyhound Canada, a private extra-provincial bus company, announced that they would no longer provide service to most of British Columbia. Following the Greyhound Canada services closure announcement, constituents across my riding of Kootenay-Columbia have told me how the loss of these essential services will detrimentally impact them and their communities. 

There is a need in rural Canada for residents to have accessible and affordable transportation. Greyhound Canada has been a lifeline to these communities in providing a safe way to get from point A to point B for people from a variety of different backgrounds.

Bus services link Canadians to family and friends in other communities, connect people to employment, and provide a means of transportation to people who are unable to drive. It provides a safe means of transportation to the general public as well as low income and vulnerable populations. 

We can see in the past, when looking at the history of missing and murdered Aborginal women along the Highway of Tears in Northern British Columbia, that this service provides safety in transportation. It allows people a way out if they are fleeing an abusive relationship. It grants people who are released from corrections a way to get back to their home community, as well as helping mental health professionals to keep clients safe by being able to pick up the phone and call the bus line, or RCMP, to pick people up before they are "lost". 

In rural communities resources are limited, which leaves people having to access medical services, specialist health services, and social services in other communities. Many seniors use the bus to access medical appointments, students use it to access education, businesses use it to transport supplies, and service providers use it to help clients' access crucial services. 

In terms of addictions treatment services, individuals often take Greyhound to access services in larger urban settings, such as Kelowna and the Vancouver area. When beds open up in these treatment facilities, there is urgency in filling them, and often people are jumping on the bus the same or next day to access services that could save their lives. 

Without bus services, we have to consider how inaccessible and costly services will become in looking at alternate routes of transportation, with taxi fares and plane travel (airports are not located as centrally in communities as bus services are). 

The loss of Greyhound services will impact individuals and local businesses with the loss of the courier services associated with the line. Many businesses within my riding use this service to get parts and supplies to customers. The courier service is critical in rural communities in building a strong and vibrant local economy. 

With Greyhound closing services, over 400 Canadians will be left unemployed. 

Without a safe, accessible and affordable means of transportation, there will be a tremendous gap that will serve to further isolate people in rural communities, and create hardships for many more. This is a crisis for rural Canada, and one that must be addressed as soon as possible. Please consider what the federal government can do to ensure affordable bus services are in place to support our communities. 

I look forward to working with you on this important and urgent matter. 

Regards, 

Wayne Stetski
Member of Parliament
Kootenay-Columbia

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