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Greyhound Canada suspending service as ridership plunges due to COVID-19

Last Updated May 7, 2020 at 2:28 pm MDT

A Greyhound bus driver does a walk-around before moving the bus to a parking lot after arriving in Whistler, B.C., from Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Greyhound Canada says it will suspend operations as of May 12 due to a sharp decline in ridership as a result of COVID-19.

CityNews has obtained a copy of a letter sent to employees in which Greyhound says most employees will be temporarily laid off with the exception of a small group who will continue working to ensure a smooth start-up once conditions improve to resume operations.

The move is expected to affect up to 400 employees and affect routes across southern Ontario stretching from Windsor to Ottawa and Montreal.

“This difficult decision was not made lightly and we look forward to restoring operations in the near future as passenger demand improves and travel restrictions are lifted in the wake of the pandemic,” writes Stuart Kendrick, senior vice president of Greyhound Canada.

The bus operator says it has “made significant outreach efforts” to provincial and federal governments seeking financial support.

A statement from the Amalgamated Transit Union, which represents about 300 of the company’s bus operators, mechanics and service staff, said the federal government “has given the industry the cold shoulder during the pandemic.”

Union president John Di Nino said Greyhound Canada’s shutdown demonstrates the Liberal government has failed when it comes to mass transit.

“Transit is a human right and vital for some of the most vulnerable people who rely on this service, many who have no alternative means of transportation.”

The company had already scaled back service on March 25 and April 5 on many of its routes due to the pandemic, noting that ridership had fallen by 95 per cent.

In July 2018, Greyhound announced that it would wind down all but one of its routes in Western Canada and northern Ontario.