Greyhound Canada's decision to permanently cut all bus routes across the country after nearly a century of service won't have an immediate impact on Ontario Northland.
"At this time, Ontario Northland’s mandate includes providing motor coach service connecting communities in northern Ontario with routes reaching as far as Ottawa, Toronto and Winnipeg, Manitoba," said communications officer Renee Baker.
"Greyhound provided our parcel customers and bus passengers with opportunities to travel farther through connecting services. That said, these connections were discontinued in Spring 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and there is no immediate impact to Ontario Northland passengers. Since 2019, Greyhound Canada has only operated in southern Ontario and into Montreal.
Over 300 workers with Greyhound will lose their jobs.
The decision is a blow to rural and remote areas that rely on a patchwork of private intercity bus companies for transportation.
The service has long been part of a network linking smaller communities and big cities, offering an affordable and convenient mode of travel for everyone from essential workers and students to the elderly and backpackers.
"Thousands of Ontarians who depend on Greyhound will be literally left stranded. Rural and Northern folks are being left behind, again. University and college students are being denied an affordable way to get between home and school. Seniors who need to get to medical appointments or to be reunited with their grandkids once this pandemic nightmare is over are having their independence stripped. These folks all need and deserve a reliable, affordable inter-city transit solution," said Jamie West, NDP critic for Northern Infrastructure, Transportation and Roads said in a release.
"The Liberals and Conservatives have already cut and limited other transit options — like the Northlander — and Doug Ford needs to tell us how he’s going to fill the massive gap left behind. Regional transportation is an essential service. It should not be left up to a for-profit corporation.
"New Democrats have long been calling for the expansion of the province’s two existing public regional transportation companies, GO and Ontario Northland. Now is the time to do it.”