Flin Flon could be without passenger or freight highway bus service beginning Oct. 31.
Greyhound Canada announced on July 9 that the company will discontinue all passenger bus and freight service in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta in October.
In Flin Flon, Greyhound serves as the only bus link to other parts of the province. The company currently operates six trips each week to and from Coutts’ Convenience in Creighton to Winnipeg, stopping at a number of communities including The Pas, Dauphin and Neepawa along the way. Buses from Flin Flon leave at 7:30 pm and drive through the night, arriving in Winnipeg 11 hours later.
Heading north, buses travel from Winnipeg to Flin Flon leave the provincial capital at 8:30 pm and arrive in Flin Flon 12 hours later.
Only one Greyhound route west of Sudbury will continue to operate. That route, which runs between Vancouver and Seattle, is run by Greyhound’s American parent company. Operations in Ontario and Quebec will continue.
In an interview with the Canadian Press, Stuart Kendrick, senior vice president of Greyhound Canada estimated 415 people will lose their jobs as a direct result of the decision.
Kendrick stated in the interview that operating the services in Canada’s western provinces was no longer viable for the company, citing a 41 per cent drop in ridership.
“This decision is regretful and we sympathize with the fact that many small towns are going to lose service,” he said. “But simply put, the issue that we have seen is the routes in rural parts of Canada — specifically Western Canada — are just not sustainable anymore.”
The Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) made a similar decision in May 2017. The Crown corporation that provided passenger and freight bus service throughout Saskatchewan ended its service at that time.
During the release of the Saskatchewan provincial 2017-18 budget, the province stated the overall cost of the company’s services – an estimated $85 million over the next five years – had become too high.
In total, 27 routes operated by the STC were left without service. The company’s assets were auctioned off last summer.
While private companies now cover some of the former STC routes, no company has offered permanent passenger or freight service to northern Saskatchewan since the corporation disbanded.
Greyhound previously received operating subsidies from the Manitoba government, but the subsidy was cancelled in 2012. Shortly afterward, Greyhound cut daytime bus service between Flin Flon and Winnipeg and stopped running buses between Flin Flon and Thompson. Later, the company ended Saturday bus service between Flin Flon and Winnipeg, and cut services in Thompson, Cross Lake, Gillam and other communities.