The coronavirus pandemic has claimed another victim. The Greyhound bus company has announced that it is closing its doors for good in Canada after a century of service.
The sharp drop in demand for transportation caused by COVID-19 has finally ended the company's operations on this side of the border.
The decision is a blow to rural communities across the country that relied on Greyhound buses to connect them to major cities. The firm had already terminated all of its services in the western part of the country in 2018 due to declining ridership in rural areas and increased competition.
“A full year without revenue has unfortunately made it impossible to continue operations”, Stuart Kendrick, senior vice president of the company, which is owned by British carrier FirstGroup, said in a statement.
The decision has no impact on Greyhound Lines Inc. (U.S.), a separate entity from Greyhound Canada. It will continue to operate transborder express services once the border reopens.
Greyhound, which began operating in Canada in 1929, said the governments (federal and provincial) have not extended the necessary investment in intercity bus services. "Operations are not feasible in the absence of financial support," the statement added.
In recent years, the federal government has been under pressure to provide better services to connect rural towns to major urban centers as Greyhound has reduced its routes and airlines such as Air Canada and Westjet have cancelled or reduced service to some remote areas.
Omar Alghabra, the federal Minister of Transport, expressed his disappointment with the closure of Greyhound Canada. His statement on Twitter reads “We know that many Canadians depend on this service”. He added that the government will work with the provinces to fill the transportation void left by Greyhound’s departure.