Greyhound Canada canceling several Ontario routes



Greyhound Canada is stopping service along a number of routes in southern Ontario today, Sunday, January 17. And, it will stop more service starting Sunday, April 11.

Greyhound officially cites cutting the routes as a way to cut its costs. However, behind the scenes, in reducing service to smaller Ontario communities, Greyhound seems to be opening another front in the ongoing battle between intercity bus lines and federal and provincial governments.

Greyhound and other carriers, including Coach Canada, want governments to fund them for providing service to smaller communities, because, they argue, they can’t continue to lose money on the routes to those communities, even though those communites rely on the service.

While interuban bus service isn’t what Transit Toronto is about, some of the service that Greyhound is canceling is in the Greater Toronto Area and the Golden Horseshoe — especially service between Toronto and communities north of the city, including Orillia, Barrie, Alliston and Bolton.

And we can’t help but remember that, historically, the Cities of Toronto and Hamilton helped support some of this service that interurban bus companies may abandon. (The TTC operated an interurban subsidiary, Gray Coach Lines along some of the canceled routes from the 1920s to 1994, while over in Hamilton the City supported an interurban service, Canada Coach Lines from the 1960s to the 1990s, again along some of the routes that are ending.)


This has not been a good year for interurban bus companies and probably even worse for passengers needing to travel between cities — or to and from smaller towns and villages — by bus.

In August, Coach Canada canceled all bus service between Hamilton and Guelph — along a route that Canada Coach Lines had served at least since the 1930s.

In September, Greyhound threatened to cancel service along most routes in Manitoba and northwestern Ontario, starting last October 2, but postponed its action after meeting provincial and federal politicians and Transport Canada officials in late September.

Greyhound is seeking $15 million a year to subsidize the bus service in Manitoba and northern Ontario. Greyhound also wants to see federal public transportation rules eased, which, it says, force the company to provide service for unprofitable routes. The push to living in cities and the global financial crisis have weakened Greyhound’s capability, the company has said. Greyhound said that total losses in Manitoba and Ontario amount to $30 million a year.

The Government of Manitoba has agreed to fund part of the cost of the Manitoba service and the federal government offered to set up a national working group to review intercity bus transportation and resolve issues. However, the national working group is not expected to make recommendations until September.

Now it’s Ontario’s turn. Greyhound decided to reduce, but not eliminate, the service in northwestern Ontario, starting today, instead of October 2 as it originally planned. But, it also reduced a number of other services in Southern Ontario today.

In a press release explaining why it’s cutting service today, Greyhound quotes its senior vice-president Stuart Kendrick: “Greyhound Canada has indicated for months that it could no longer sustain current financial losses without making adjustments to our existing operations. The route frequency reductions we are announcing today are designed to relieve some of that financial pressure.”

Greyhound says that these “service adjustments” are effective “only on an interim basis”, subject to the final recommendations of the federal working group.

A Greyhound news release about the April 11 service cuts also quotes Kendrick, who says the average number of passengers on each trip along on the affected routes is less than seven.

“Greyhound Canada takes this decision with great reluctance but with such low ridership, the financial case for maintaining service simply does not exist,” he said.

Canceling the routes on April 11 affects 60 communities across eastern, central and southwestern Ontario.

The whole issue opens a debate about whether citizens have a right to public transportation between towns — and whether the government should supply or pay for them to enjoy that right.

Private carriers fear they cannot compete with government-supported agencies like GO Transit who can serve the same area as private carriers, but can offer lower fares. Greyhound and Coach Canada have both complained about GO’s recent expanded services to Niagara Region and to Peterborough.

At the same time, residents of smaller towns and villages have few choices if they don’t own cars and need to travel to other towns or cities. They depend on the services that Greyhound and Coach Canada provide.

We’ll have wait until this fall to see whether the federal work group will make recommendations to support private interurban bus companies who make local service to smaller communities, whether other companies will agree to provide the service that Greyhound is abandoning, whether governments will operate their own service, or whether residents in smaller towns are left without any public transportation.


January 17 service cuts in Southern Ontario

Greyhound is canceling service along these routes, starting today, Sunday, January 17:

London - St. Mary’s - Stratford - Kitchener

Until today:

2 trips daily in each direction.

Starting today:

1 trip daily in each direction.

Niagara Falls - St. Catharines - Grimsby - Toronto

Until today:

8 daily trips toward Niagara Falls, with one extra trip Mondays to Fridays and one extra trip Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

9 daily trips toward Toronto, with one extra trip Mondays to Fridays.

Starting today:

7 daily trips toward Niagara Falls.

8 daily trips toward Toronto.

GO Transit operates daily buses between Burlington and Niagara Falls. GO buses also serve St. Catharines, Grimsby and east-end Hamilton.

Coach Canada operates also operates daily buses between Toronto and Niagara Falls. Coach Canada buses also serve Grimsby, St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.

(Gray Coach Lines used to operate this service.)

Owen Sound - Durham - Mount Forest - Elora - Guelph

Until today:

1 trip in each direction Sundays.

Starting today:

No service along this route.

Greyhound still operates buses along a more direct route from Owen Sound to Guelph and then Toronto and from Owen Sound to Brampton and then Toronto.

Owen Sound - Durham - Mount Forest - Guelph - Toronto

Until today:

1 trip in each direction Wednesdays and Fridays.

Starting today:

1 southbound trip Sundays. 1 northbound trip Fridays.

(Gray Coach Lines used to operate this service.)

Owen Sound - Shelburne - Orangeville - Brampton - Toronto

Until today:

1 southbound trip Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. 1 northbound trip Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

Starting today:

1 southbound trip Sundays. 1 northbound trip Fridays.

(Gray Coach Lines used to operate this service.)


April 11 service cuts in Southern Ontario

Greyhound proposes to cancel service along these routes, starting Sunday, April 11:

Bala - Bracebridge - Gravenhurst - Orillia - Barrie - Toronto

Until April 11:

1 trip in each direction Saturdays, Sundays and holidays.

Starting April 11:

No service.

Greyhound’s daily Quick Link commuter service between Barrie and Toronto continues.

(Gray Coach Lines used to operate this service.)

Barrie - Alliston - Bolton - Toronto

Until April 11:

1 trip in each direction Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Starting April 11:

No service.

GO Transit buses operate during rush hours between Bolton and Toronto and Bolton and Mississauga.

(Gray Coach Lines used to operate this service.)

Casino Rama - Orillia - Barrie - Toronto

Until April 11:

Five daily trips in each direction, plus extra trips Mondays to Fridays only and more extra trips Fridays and Saturdays only. (includes service to Georgian College’s Barrie and Orillia campuses.)

Starting April 11:

No service.

Greyhound’s daily Quick Link commuter service between Barrie and Toronto continues.

Ontario Northland buses from Northern Ontario also link Orillia and Barrie with Toronto.

GO Transit trains link Barrie with Toronto Mondays to Fridays during rush hours. GO buses link Barrie with Newmarket at all other times of the week.

(Gray Coach Lines used to operate this service.)

Gravenhurst - Orillia - Barrie - Toronto

Until April 11:

1 daily trip in each direction, Mondays to Thursdays.

Starting April 11:

No service.

Greyhound’s daily Quick Link commuter service between Barrie and Toronto continues.

Ontario Northland buses from Northern Ontario also link Orillia and Barrie with Toronto.

GO Transit trains link Barrie with Toronto Mondays to Fridays during rush hours. GO buses link Barrie with Newmarket at all other times of the week.

(Gray Coach Lines used to operate this service.)

Niagara Falls - Welland - St. Thomas - London

Until April 11:

1 trip in each direction, Fridays only.

Starting April 11:

No service.

(Canada Coach Lines provided some of this service.)

Ottawa - Belleville - Trenton - Port Hope - Bowmanville - Oshawa - Ajax - Toronto

Until April 11:

One trip in each direction Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Starting April 11:

No service.

Daily Greyhound service from Belleville and Trenton to Toronto continues. Daily buses from Peterborough continue to serve Oshawa and Ajax.

Coach Canada offers passengers some service from Belleville and Trenton to Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Penetanguishene - Midland - Barrie

Until April 11:

Two daily trips in each direction, plus extra service to ski resorts.

Starting April 11:

No service.

support-us-on-patreon-button-160.jpg