Canadian bus company has plans to fill the gap left by Greyhound

Almost every Canadian of a certain age remembers the first long-distance bus trip, which made them start a young adventure.

As far as your correspondent is concerned, part of that journey as a gentle 17-year-old traveler was on the exotic road called the “grey geese line” which caused me to fall somewhere east of Aticankan, Ontario On a lonely highway in China, I served as a junior high school summer job. Forest keeper.

And Greyhound Canada’s Announced its final departure People familiar with the matter say that people from southern Ontario and Quebec this week may be shocked by those who rely on the service, and people familiar with the matter say there may be a glimmer of hope for the company’s losses.

Terence Johnson, President of Transport Operations Canada, said that early reports that “the disappearance of the hound sounds like the death knell of an outdated transportation system” are incorrect.

Buses are still important for those who can’t drive or get on the bus, and for connections to communities where airlines are too expensive or don’t exist at all.

Johnson said that now, Greyhound’s departure may be the catalyst for a new coast-to-coast bus network formed by domestic bus companies that are interconnected between East and West, provided that the federal government is willing to help.

Johnson said: “Many Canadian companies don’t mind seeing the back of the Greyhound.” He believes that the rebound after the pandemic is to constantly transform and improve Canada’s transportation system.

Ready zone players

This transition may not be immediate. Johnson said that because the new bus service fills the gap left by US operators, there may be a rest period, and at this time, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the new bus service is already struggling in traffic accidents.

However, these are not inexperienced start-ups. They are recognized regional participants, and when you start looking, there are more participants than you think.

Last Thursday, when the Greyhound announced its departure, Rider Express, a company established in Saskatchewan after the closure of STC bus services in Saskatchewan, issued this notice. (Knight Express)

Companies across the country are already studying how to obtain the passenger and parcel transportation market in the central Canadian market that they believe is favorable.

Just as Greyhound Line grew out of a small start-up company in Sperling, Manchester in the 1920s and was eventually swallowed by Greyhounds and closed down, there seems to be no shortage of powerful regional companies looking for Greyhounds.

“Rider Express is coming to Ontario and Quebec,” he said Notice on the company website Released on the same day the Greyhound announced its withdrawal.

“As a true Canadian company, Rider Express will be able to connect across Canada with a single bus ticket.”

Greyhound failed success

However, after Saskatchewan cancelled the loss-making provincial transportation company in 2017, how can a company that started a smaller scale in Saskatchewan make money, while Greyhound cannot Do it?

According to Rider General Manager Omer Kanca, after many years of serving the relatively sparse pedestrian route between Vancouver and Winnipeg, the Windsor-Toronto-Montreal corridor will be a rich choice.

Kanka said: “The fact that we have achieved in these areas proves that our business model is much better than Greyhound.”

Rider Express bus in Calgary. The Saskatchewan-based company hopes to open a similar bus on the Windsor-Toronto-Montreal corridor as early as this summer. (Colin Concert Hall/CBC)

Kanca said that in cooperation with the Ontario Northland Bus Service Company in North Bay, Rider will be able to provide comprehensive services from the west to the Atlantic coast of Canada. He expects the system to operate in the summer.

Kanka said on the phone Friday: “We are ready.” “We have buses waiting for service.”

Rider Express is not the only company focusing on the abandoned route of the Greyhound. According to industry insiders, there are many reasons for the US company’s withdrawal, but one of the reasons is that starting from July 1, the Ontario government is deregulating bus services on travel routes in the southern province of the province. This will open the way for any company that can obtain a business license.

Watch | Why Greyhound says it’s gone, and why is it so important:

After a hundred years of bus service across the country, Greyhound will no longer operate in Canada, providing some communities with few transportation options. 1:57

Competition and cooperation

John Stepovy, director of business development for Pacific Western Transportation, based in Edmonton, said the company is considering launching this service in Ontario, which operates EBus and Red Arrow on routes in Western Canada.

Since 2011, Pacific Western has been operating under Alberta’s deregulated system, ready to compete. But it also believes that there is value in working with companies that understand its regional market.

Stepovy said: “We are continuing to look for opportunities to expand the scope of services and establish contacts with other regional operators.”

The system for coordinating with powerful regional companies such as the Atlantic West is exactly what Mike Cassidy, the company’s coach, thought of.

Transport Canada provides an opportunity to coordinate a ground transportation network that will include the government commuter system, private intercity bus services and long-distance railways. (Kate Beckett/CBC)

Cassidy hopes to establish a coordinated national bus network to provide regional bus services across the country, with the cooperation of the federal government. Companies that have negotiated include Pacific West, Kasper, which operates in Manitoba and northwestern Ontario, and Cassidy’s Atlantic Coach.

Cassidy said: “In the past six months, we have been proposing to establish a coast-to-coast transit alliance. In this alliance, you are not fully responsible for handing over trans-Canada transit routes to a specific company. responsible for.”

Part of his plan will see the government provide some kind of subsidy for the capital cost of intercity buses, which is similar to the funds provided for city bus services.

Not just picking cherries

The idea here is not only to choose lucrative routes, but to provide cost-effective services that connect backbone cross-country networks with regional participants, thereby providing routes to small and indigenous communities.

By using a shared software system, Cassidy can foresee a system in which passengers will be able to move seamlessly between carriers. It will also provide each local operator with access to a profitable package delivery system traditionally operated by bus services.

Johnson of Transport Action said that one of the advantages of this kind of parts network is that the system is less likely to collapse because a company goes bankrupt.He said that the Greyhound seemed to think it was too big to fail and deserve Federal Handout Keep going.

Johnson, like many others across the country, believes that the federal government must be involved to help coordinate inter-provincial transportation services, which integrate the city and inter-city system to provide services to all Canadians.

Johnson said: “A lot of refinement has been done to this relationship so that Canadians can work normally for all important people, that is, passengers who want to go to college from Corner Brook to Sudbury.” Johnson said.

“She should be able to buy tickets and know that all these contacts will go through as normal, and it should be easy.”

-File from James Dunne

Follow Don Pittis on Twitter @don_pittis

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