Greyhound applies to reduce Hwy. 3 trips

Routes from Kelowna to Calgary via Cranbrook and Elk Valley may be cut down but daily service to Alberta through Banff will remain

Greyhound has applied to the Passenger Transport Board of B.C. to reduce service on a number of routes in the province. Among them is the Highway 3 trip from Kelowna to Alberta that travels through Cranbrook 10 times a week in each direction.

“The reductions in the province are being made because of serious losses across the province,” said Grant Odsen, regional manager of passenger services for Greyhound Canada in B.C.

Currently, the route goes through Cranbrook daily in both directions, and an additional three times a week in each direction.

Odsen said they have asked the board to drop the additional three trips a week, while keeping the service running every day through Cranbrook, the Elk Valley and on to Alberta.

“It’s a consistent service, just as we have now,” he said. “This decision allows Greyhound to reduce frequency without abandoning any routes.”

Greyhound will continue to run its daily service from Cranbrook to Calgary via Kimberley and Kootenay National Park, so passengers will still have access to a fasttracked trip to Alberta’s largest city.

Ground transportation in the province is regulated by the Passenger Transport Board of B.C., which provides licenses for bus services like Greyhound to operate.

They have minimum trips that must be met. Greyhound must apply to the board for any reductions in service. If the application is granted, they will then have to provide a certain amount of notice to customers.

For Cranbrook, that means notices will start appearing in the terminal 30 days before the trips are eliminated from their schedule. They will also post notifications on their website, www.greyhound.ca.

Odsen, who spoke from Calgary, said executives were discussing how the changes will take affect.

“We’re currently meeting to see what the timelines will be,” he said.

Odsen said the company is committed to offering services in B.C., and with the new changes they can expand their offerings elsewhere to better suit customers.

“We want to stay in the province,” he said.

With the reduction of services comes the expansion of others.

Odsen said they are looking forward to launching their popular Greyhound Express services in B.C. in the late spring, following its success in Alberta.

That service will offer customers a more comfortable bus experience with expanded leg room and modern amenities like Wifi.

It will operate between B.C.’s major hubs like the Kelowna to Vancouver route.

While it won’t hit Cranbrook directly, Odsen said passengers connecting in Kelowna may get a chance to ride the new updated buses once they become available.