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Courtenay council unhappy about proposed Greyhound cuts

Bus service through the Comox Valley is on the chopping block again, and Courtenay council is not pleased about it.

Greyhound Canada Transportation ULC has applied to the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) to reduce its minimum route frequency from Nanaimo to Campbell River to one trip per day instead of two. It also applied to eliminate service from Victoria to Mount Washington, which currently operates at least three times per week.

A motion from Coun. Doug Hillian to write a letter to the PTB "strongly opposing" the proposed service cuts and outlining the negative effects on the communities, particularly seniors, was unanimously passed by council Monday.

"I think it's important that we express our objection and our concern for the impact," said Hillian. "People who take the bus don't do it because it's an incredibly pleasant experience that they're longing to have; they do it because they don't have any other means of getting from point A to point B, and so it's an important piece of our transportation infrastructure."

Mayor Larry Jangula pointed out the route from Nanaimo to Campbell River was already trimmed back years ago.

"They cut it three years ago, I think from three routes a day to two, and now they want to cut it to one," said Jangula. "I think that we should be very adamant that we oppose that."

Greyhound proposes to cut services on 15 routes throughout the province, noting "unsustainable" losses of $14.1 million in B.C. last year, according to an explanatory paper from the company.

Coun. Bill Anglin pointed out that there is a "business case" for the company's decision to cut back on service, and called the situation a "tough sled" after he saw the numbers.

Anyone can submit written comments about the proposed service cuts to the PTB until Wednesday, Oct. 24. When submitting comments quote 'application 305-12' and note the route name. The route between Namaimo and Campbell River is called Route U and the route between Victoria and Mount Washington is called Route X.

Comments can be e-mailed to ptboard@gov.bc.ca, or sent to Passenger Transportation Board, PO Box 9850 Stn Prov Govt, Victoria, B.C., V8W 9T5.

writer@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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