Debate in the B.C. Legislature today (Feb. 26, 2018) during question period on the elimination of bus routes by Greyhound. Liberal MLA Mike Morris of Prince George-McKenzie leads off, and Transportation Minister Claire Trevena responds.
M. Morris: The Minister of Transportation has known for five months that bus transportation in northern B.C. was threated. Last week, the Passenger Transportation Board approved the elimination of six bus routes.
The Minister of Transportation has had much of last week and the weekend to take action. What concrete steps has she taken since the decision was made to eliminate these routes?
Hon. C. Trevena: I think the member opposite knows how important this is. It’s something that I have talked to his colleagues about, about how we can work together to try to find a solution.
Greyhound has been wanting to pull out from northern B.C. for many years. I don’t think it came as any surprise that they put in another application. The members opposite, when they were government, would have seen, really, the writing on the wall. They’ve tried to pull out for many years.
We are working closely with local government, with First Nations, to try and find a solution to make sure that people have access to safe and reliable transportation across the north.
Mr. Speaker: The member for Prince George–Mackenzie on a supplemental.
M. Morris: I suppose a five second conversation in the hallway could be considered as consultation.
Greyhound posted their application on this September 13 of last year. In 162 days, all that’s been achieved is the cancellation of this service, nothing more. This raises significant concerns for public safety throughout northern B.C., throughout British Columbia, for winter travel.
Again, to the Minister of Transportation, what concrete actions is she taking to bring this service back?
Hon. C. Trevena: I’m not sure what the member is talking about, about a five second chat in a hallway. I have sat down in my office with members of the opposition from the north, early in the process, to talk about the potential withdrawal of Greyhound.
The member for Prince George–Valemount knew from many years ago that the Greyhound was likely to pull out. We are working to find a solution that will create safe and affordable transportation. I’ve been talking with mayors from the north, and when we have a break from the Legislature, I will be going to the north to sit down with them to talk about just how we can fill a very desperate void that Greyhound has left.
I’d like to remind the member that the Passenger Transportation Board is an independent tribunal. I did write to them early on when we heard about Greyhound pulling out and asked that they have consultations around the north. They held those consultations. They went out. They talked to people at my instigation. They still decided, as an independent tribunal, to pull out from the north.
It is something that I’m extraordinarily concerned about, but we’re not going to be rushing in to say: “This is the solution.” We don’t go top-down like the previous government. We work with communities. And we will work with communities to ensure there is a safe and affordable mode of transportation for the north.
Source: BC Hansard transcripts.