Nelson City Council voted unanimously Monday to write a letter in response to Greyhound’s application to reduce its Nelson service.
City manager Kevin Cormack wrote the letter this week to the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board, the regulatory body to which Greyhound applied recently to cut its service to two days per week.
The letter explains how the relative remoteness of Nelson and the long drive to the nearest Canadian service centre (Kelowna) make daily service essential.
“We know that many residents use Greyhound to access medical services, in particular those that do not have private transportation (key populations: seniors and people living in poverty), education and employment and it is relied on as a means of general mobility for those living in poverty,” Cormack wrote. “Because Nelson is a relatively isolated community where our residents face the challenge of distance and geography the Greyhound bus service is a lifeline for many.”
The letter states that Greyhound’s application will have “significant public safety, economic, social and environmental implications for our community.”
At the council meeting, Councillor Valerie Warmington said that she sometimes uses Greyhound and that it appears to be well used.
Cormack said the city does not have rider statistics but could ask for them. The Star has requested those numbers from Greyhound twice in the past two weeks with no response.
Councillor Janice Morrison said Nelson businesses rely on freight shipping by Greyhound.
Councillor Michael Dailly said council should ask the Interior Health Authority to write a letter also, and the authority was copied on Cormack’s letter.
Cormack pointed out that individuals can respond also, by going to the Passenger Transportation Board website. The deadline for public input is October 13
Warmington said if Greyhound cuts its routes, it would increase the responsibility of the provincial government to provide public transit in the region.
Greyhound asked the B.C. Passenger Transportation Board in August for permission to eliminate six routes in Northern B.C. and three others on the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.
The company also requested to cut the service of 10 more routes, as well as stop servicing some route points. Nelson, which is one of the stops on what Greyhound calls Route D: Kelowna – Alberta Border and Highway 3, would be among the cities affected.