When the traditional bus line in the Maritime provinces (Acadian) closed six years ago, there were busloads of sky-is-falling predictions, just as there are now in Western Canada over Greyhound’s announcement it is pulling out at the end of October.
Then a new carrier, Maritime Bus, started up.
The new company’s buses often aren’t as large as Acadian’s – a large van or shuttle versus a highway coach. They usually don’t run as often, especially in off-peak season when the company tries to entice schools, sports teams and tour groups to rent them for charters.
Still the new service makes sense given the customer demand in the region.
Before anyone in the West starts demanding a taxpayer-subsidized “solution” to the loss of Greyhound, consider the example of Maritime Bus.
Much has been made of Greyhound’s drastic loss in ridership, and rightly so.
Since 2010, the company claims passenger business is off 41 per cent. That is Problem No. 1.
But it is far from the only reason “the Dawg” is picking up its bone and trundling off.
In some provinces (including Alberta until deregulation in 2011), the government granted Greyhound monopoly routes but with the stipulation the company use only large buses and schedule buses at regular intervals, whether or not there were enough riders.
For instance, a government might decree that there had to be a full-sized bus leave Town A at least once a day headed for Big City B. Didn’t matter whether there was enough business to turn a profit on that route. The government felt there was a valid public-policy reason for the service, so it commanded Greyhound to do so.