Greyhound Canada To End Bus Services in Western Provinces!

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epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..not sure if this is a drift or not but the greyhound behaviour has opened up the topic.

Moving to the offensive, from anti-privatization to pro-public

I recently had the privilege of travelling to Montreal to speak at and participate in a conference called The Future is Public, hosted by Friends of Public Services and the Municipal Services Project and sponsored by several national labour unions. It was promoted with the tagline “Building a pro-public movement for everyone.” I want to share some of my thoughts and experiences from the conference because I think there is a lot to be learned from it....

6079_Smith_W

Well that's the thing. There are parallels to what happened here with forcing phone competition, and we had bell, telus and the rest of them trying to get the cream in urban markets while it is left to Sasktel to maintain infrastructure in the whole province. Even so we have the lowest phone and internet rates in the country, and Sasktel is the last public phone utility on the continent (And the provincial government is doing its best to try and shut if down).
Similar thing with the bus. I doubt this was really about the service not being viable. Given their track record I thing they just weren't making enough to consider it worth it. I'm wondering if brad wall would have been able to shut down STC if greyhound had just gotten out of the picture a year ago and freed up those profitable lines for a service that actually factored public service into their business model.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Similar thing with the bus. I doubt this was really about the service not being viable. Given their track record I thing they just weren't making enough to consider it worth it.

Quote:
and freed up those profitable lines for a service that actually factored public service into their business model.

Just asking here, but were the "profitable" lines awarded exclusively to Greyhound?

I personally feel that Crown corporations should typically compete for business, but I'd certainly never suggest that they should be unable to.  Canada Post's "Priority Mail" competes with UPS and Purolator and FedEx, as (I think) it should, but it would be a bit self-defeating if we said that CP cannot carry courier packages in markets served by the other three.

Aren't those basically the same thing?  Businesses don't actually have to be hemmorhaging money before they can say "this isn't worth it".  You keep insisting you're not suggesting that Greyhound owed us anything, but at the same time you also keep insisting that "they could have done more" or that there's something immoral about them winding down operations.

Misfit Misfit's picture

Actually Magoo, I support Crown corporations having a monopoly. they don't have to gouge customers To make a profit and by having a monopoly they generate more money for the government and help keep our taxes lower. And this system has worked very well thank you very much.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Actually Magoo, I support Crown corporations having a monopoly.

Very well.  But I was really inquiring about why STC had to wait for Greyhound to withdraw in order to serve some markets.

WRT to a monopoly, that's certainly one way for a Crown corporation to succeed.  But I would think that what with the "no profit" thing, CCs should succeed regardless, shouldn't they?  How could a private company, with shareholders expecting cheques, compete against a lean, mean CC with no such mandate?  Are we forgetting how PetroCanada put all the other gas stations out of business??  And how private couriers like UPS or FedEx are hanging on by a toenail?

Misfit Misfit's picture

STC won't come back. Brad Wall guaranteed that by liquidating all their bus stations.

6079_Smith_W

Fyi, Canada post owns purolator.

And Yes, greyhound served the highway 16 and 1 routes in the province, as well as the route to Calgary. A lot of cream actually. Sure STC had the option of going to war with them but what would have been the point of that given Greyhounds national service (though now in hindsight they may as well just have done that). But no, unsupervised competition is not always a productive thing, as with the phone situation here, and the bus.

Why? Because the most important thing isn't how the businesses fare, and their freedom. It is Making sure the public is served.
After all there are far too many cases of businesses closing down when it suits them, and leaving communities in the lurch and governments to clean up their mess.

progressive17 progressive17's picture

We should be a tiny bit concerned about how the businesses fare and their freedom, because then they might create jobs, which we can then tax to provide public services.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
And Yes, greyhound served the highway 16 and 1 routes in the province, as well as the route to Calgary. A lot of cream actually. Sure STC had the option of going to war with them but what would have been the point of that given Greyhounds national service

Would the point have been "healthy competition"?  Doesn't that benefit the public?

But if you're saying that STC voluntarily chose to only service the most unprofitable routes and leave the "cream" for that American company then how can you express surprise when they fold faster than Superman on laundry day?

Quote:
Why? Because the most important thing isn't how the businesses fare, and their freedom. It is Making sure the public is served.

Again, I think the public is well served by lower fares and two choices.  Or at least better than by a monopolistic fare and no choices.

Quote:
After all there are far too many cases of businesses closing down when it suits them, and leaving communities in the lurch and governments to clean up their mess.

Exactly.  And yes, I'm looking at YOU, Blockbuster Video!  Dafuq am I supposed to do with my VHS recorder now??  You didn't even TRY to fight Netflix.  You just up and ran as soon as you weren't making billions any more. 

You're still sort of acting like companies have (or should have) some moral responsibility to the very customers who are no longer supporting them, though.  Instead of saying I'm just making that up, maybe you could just explain it?  What do private businesses owe their customers, aside from the obvious (e.g. a safe product and such)?

 

 

progressive17 progressive17's picture

Obviously, businesses should sacrifice for the greater good. So long as Quebec gets an asymmetrical deal.

Pogo Pogo's picture

Magoo,

Two choices makes sense only if you refuse to consider how it works on the ground. I am guessing you are thinking about an airport terminal where there are the Air Canada ticket window will be alongside the WestJet.  The difference is that Airport terminals are stand alone operations.  Bus Terminals are owned by the bus company.  Now I am pretty sure I have seen terminals with secondary companies represented (can't remember for sure).  However the smaller companies were not in competition with the company that was the owner and main tenant of the terminal. This is how the market system evolved and it evolved into almost exclusively monopoly positions on all the routes.  So you cannot say with one breath let the market figure it out and then with the next breath that multiple companies are the best option.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I am guessing you are thinking about an airport terminal where there are the Air Canada ticket window will be alongside the WestJet.  The difference is that Airport terminals are stand alone operations.  Bus Terminals are owned by the bus company.

And yet bus companies often pick up passengers after leaving the terminal.  Heck, I remember the GO bus doing that back when I lived in Hamilton.  If you had the fare, on you went.   And really, how many trips were "terminal" to "terminal" with no other stops?

But do you have any thoughts to share on why STC would elect to not compete on the lucrative routes that could have made them viable?  Some sort of weird "good sportsmanship" or some such?

Pogo Pogo's picture

Significant barriers to entry. I would guess that Greyhound owned the infrastructure along the way.  So the STC would either of had to duplicate this or found a way to muscle into Greyhounds terminals.

Secondly a money making route may be less inviting dividing the available customers in half.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
So the STC would either of had to duplicate this or found a way to muscle into Greyhounds terminals.

Or just accept passengers curbside.  Or, if it really came to it, yes, building a cheap terminal at each end.

Quote:
Secondly a money making route may be less inviting dividing the available customers in half.

I guess I just assumed that whoever was cheaper or better would snap up pretty much all the customers.  And STC would have the huge advantage of not having to cut cheques to stockholders, so I guess I assumed they would win the "who's cheaper" contest easily.

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Canada Post has the mandate to serve all corners of the country. Perhaps they should consider entering the people transport service industry - they already have to deal with delivery of materials to some extent (mail and Purolater).

cco

Mr. Magoo wrote:

You're still sort of acting like companies have (or should have) some moral responsibility to the very customers who are no longer supporting them, though.  Instead of saying I'm just making that up, maybe you could just explain it?  What do private businesses owe their customers, aside from the obvious (e.g. a safe product and such)?

Not all private businesses are equal, as much as the libertarian idealists might like it that way. I agree that the Future Shop down the street doesn't owe me anything. I'm the kind of pesky socialist that thinks the government should operate intercity public transit (including airlines). But as currently constructed, the Canadian economy does, in fact, rely on several private entities that have become fundamental pieces of infrastructure in less populated areas. That includes banks that provide the only ATM for 50 miles in small towns, shipping companies that provide the only sealift of goods to isolated areas, airlines that provide the only way to get to small Inuit settlements, phone companies like Northwestel (a BCE subsidiary) that operate as effective monopolies in northern towns that are economically unviable to serve, and yes, Greyhound.

Again, I'm one who thinks the government should directly take over a lot of these industries, but when private business has no compunctions against begging the government for everything they want -- direct subsidies, help with "labour shortages" (importing low-wage foreign workers so they don't have to pay locals what they're worth), road maintenance, withdrawing or privatizing public-sector competition -- and when governments that do these things have reassured the public that "the free market will take care of it", it's a bit disingenuous to say that those businesses don't owe the public anything.

Misfit Misfit's picture

Ok! Both Smith and I have mentioned this repeatedly.,,

STC owned all the terminals. The Saskatchewan government under Brad Wall sold off all the bus terminals. Greyhound was no longer able to use the bus terminals. They were picking up passengers on the outskirts of the cities because STC owned all the terminals and sold them all.

in Regina, the old STC bus terminal is now the new Regina City police detachment headquarters. It was a brand new building.

 

 

6079_Smith_W

You know, instead of Mr. Stubborn I think you are Mr. Doesnt Read What People Said.
And this whole "they owe us" nonsense is something you cooked up, in case you are wondering why you are not getting an answer.
STC didn't fold. It was an ideological decision to kill it. That is why they aren't releasing all the numbers on the sale, and why they rolled it in with an omnibus of deep cuts.
As for the routes, I just said that making sure that the public is served is the point when it is a utility or public service. This "healthy competition" b.s. is what had resulted in people hiring cabs to Saskatoon and others getting killed walking down the highway.
Did I say STC took the least profitable routes? Nope. In fact they had the Saskatoon to Regina route. What I said was that they didn't do greyhounds routes which passed through the province.
If you are going to take part in the conversation do us the courtesy of reading for comprehension please.

Misfit Misfit's picture

Saskatchewan Transportation Company was formed as a crown corporation way back in the early CCF government days because Saskatchewan has a thousand gazillion small communities speckled throughout the province. These people needed public transportation to link them with the larger cities.

it was an NDP brainchild and the Saskatchewan government destroyed it for as what Smith said for ideological reasons because it was something that was important to the NDP party in this province.

ovwr the years, the STC made the province a lot of money.  It was profitable most of the time. Some years though it operated at a loss. It was an important service to our province and many people were dependent on it to get around.

When the Saskatchewan Party was first elected, our province had a television station called SCN. One of Brad Wall's first decisions was to shut the station down.

thw book value of the broadcast station's assets was $4,000,000.00. Brad Wall sold the assets for about $400,000.00 or for 10% of its real value. They sold it off to a company from out of province with no background in filming or broadcasting. Only a fool would sell something off for 1/10th of what it is worth but this is what they did.

these Saskatchewan Party's decisions are not fiscal. They are strictly ideological.

Misfit Misfit's picture

SCN Selloff

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/www.cbc.ca/amp/1.897892

"Bluepoint will pay the Saskatchewan government $350,000 for SCN's physical assets as well as its film and video properties. It has also agreed to pay for operations at SCN while it applies to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to transfer the broadcast licence.'

I lied in my earlier post. The Saskatchewan Party sold off its telecommunications company for $350,000.00 And not $400,000.00 like I misquoted.

6079_Smith_W

With STCs closure we already had vulnerable people stranded, everyone else forced to pay more to hire cabs, and others put in danger and getting killed.
Greyhounds mercenary pullout makes a bad situation worse. Spinning this as a bad corporate citizen somehow being the victim of an enitiled populace who think they "owe" us something is as ridiculous as it is callous. No one has stopped them from doing anything here. Ultimately it is governments' policy and indifference that has let people down. Greyhound has shown they care more about an easy buck than doing a good job.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
STC owned all the terminals. The Saskatchewan government under Brad Wall sold off all the bus terminals. Greyhound was no longer able to use the bus terminals.

I bet if those routes weren't a loss leader, GH would have bought those terminals.

Meanwhile, though, no more terminals, but GH is still being cruel and uncaring when they stop running those routes?

Quote:
STC didn't fold. It was an ideological decision to kill it.

Why would ANY government kill a money-making Crown corporation?  Or even a "breaking even" one?

You sure they were doing fine, but the government just hated the people that badly?

Quote:
Did I say STC took the least profitable routes? Nope. In fact they had the Saskatoon to Regina route. What I said was that they didn't do greyhounds routes which passed through the province.

My point was that competition is healthy and reasonable.  So why didn't they run those routes too, and give GH some reason to drop fares?

Quote:
ovwr the years, the STC made the province a lot of money.  It was profitable most of the time. Some years though it operated at a loss. It was an important service to our province and many people were dependent on it to get around.

I get that it was a good thing.  What I don't quite get is how some "right wing" government would take a business that's operating in the black, that people wanted/needed, and that must have contributed to the economy and axed it.  And the only suggestion I've seen is that the government hated making money and helping the people so much they had to stop.  Because secretly (or not, evidently!) they hate the people.

6079_Smith_W

Maybe go back and re read the thread. Every one of those points has been covered more than once.
Except the bit about the terminals. They were owned by a crown corporation. They were not for sale. And as I did say already Greyhound has been begging and threatening for government funding for decades.
Why would they offer to buy a terminal even if it was for sale?
Your theorizing might be interesting to some were it not for the fact it has no bearing on what is actually going on here. Plus it is really irrelevant when compared with the toll this is having on people here.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Smith wrote:
Except the bit about the terminals. They were owned by a crown corporation. They were not for sale.

Misfit wrote:
STC owned all the terminals. The Saskatchewan government under Brad Wall sold off all the bus terminals.

6079_Smith_W

If you need that one explained you really haven't been following. Or you are just playing games.

Misfit Misfit's picture

Magoo,

Saskatchewan has had an ideological battle going on for years.

When Grant Devine governed, his deputy premier (before he went to prison for fraud) sneered and bragged in the Saskatchewan legislature that they  were going to sell off all the crown corporations and that they were going to make sure that the NDP never got  their fingers  on the  mechanics of this province ever again. STC, Sask Tel, SGI, Sask Energy, and Sask Power were all to go. 

People were angry and outraged! They tried but the people resisted and the PCs backed off. They ALL were very profitable and they ALL made the government a lot of money. But they still intended to privatize.

the Canadian Wheat Board was a very successful crown corporation. More than 90% of the farmers supported the Wheat Board and did not want it destroyed. It never lost money. The Conservative party dismantled it for ideological reasons and not for fiscal reasons.

SCN had 4 million in assets and the Brad Wall government sold them to an Ontario company with no background in telecommunications for less than 10 cents on the dollar. That is not being fiscally responsible. 

Why is it that the NDP can balance their books and the Liberals, the PCs, and the Saskatchewan Party simply cannot? BTW, the Liberal debt from the 1930s is understandable.

When Tommy Douglas was elected, the CCF had to take on a 16 million dollar debt that the Liberals left them with.

The federal Liberals gave Saskatchewan a 16 million dollar loan guarantee for the provincial Liberals to use  during the Great Depression.. the federal government did not expect the provincial government to  pay back the loan. It was treated as a forgivable loan guarantee that would gradually disappear over time.

When the CCF defeated the Liberals in Saskatchewan, that forgiveness suddenly  changed.    They had to pay back the full 16 million plus interest.  This was covered in the movie Prairie Giant, the movie made about Tommy Douglas.When they left office in 1964, they left the Liberals with a surplus to work with and Medicare fully operational.

when the NDP were re-elwcted eight years later in 1972, Allen Blakeney inherited a forty million dollar debt that the Liberals left them with. Allen Blakeney left office in 1981 and Grant Devine and the PC party inherited a 2 billion dollar heritage fund that the NDP left them with.

grant Devine squandered that 2 billion dollars and racked up a 15 billion dollar debt.

Roy Romano and then Lorne Calvert cut that debt on half and they left office with An eight billion dollar debt and a AAA credit rating by international bond rating agencies.

the Saskatchewan Party has governed for 12 years and the media swoons about how fiscally responsible Brad Wall and his team are. Our debt is still around seven billion dollars.  They seem to be unable to reduce our debt and our social services have deteriorated.

They have a GTH scandal that none of the media are really reporting about. If it was the NDP, that would have been the number one topic as nauseum for the media to cover. With the Saskatchewan Party the only sound coming from the media is crickets.

thw other parties in Saskatchewan have a long history of being fiscally irresponsible. And the attacks on our crown corporations have been ideological and enhanced by their fiscal stupidity.

 

 

 

Misfit Misfit's picture

I misinformed you about the Saskatchewan Party debt. I do apologize.

History of Saskatchewan debt.

Someone from the SP mentioned that the debt was around 8 billion.

the graph also shows that the NDP had an increasing debt in the late 1970s.

the potash corporations were not paying income tax in Saskatchewan. The NDP tried to negotiate with them and they said that they were losing money. Allen Blakeney asked them to show the government their books to prove that they were not making a profit. They said no. They would not show their books. They also did not legally have to because they were American corporations that were headquartered in the United States.

allen Blakeney then bought up 50.1% of the potash corporations and brought the books up to Canada. It turns out that the potash companies were making tons of money after all and those profits were going into the provincial coffers.

this is where the NDP debt stems from. The revenues from the potash went partially into a heritage fund that totalled 2 billion dollars that was to be left for future generations.

grant Devine squandered it all away.

From the article, this is what the Saskatchewan Party did to the people of this province in the 2017 budget.

  "The government:
– shut down the province’s bus company;
– cut transfers to cities;
– reduced funding to libraries;
– eliminated funding for home repairs for people on social assistance;
– reduced wages for civil servants;
– cut subsidized podiatry services (creating a risk of increased foot amputations for diabetics and others);
– cut subsidies for hearing aids for children; and
– eliminated funding to pay for funerals for its poorest citizens."

6079_Smith_W

Calls in Thunder Bay to restore train service.

www.cbc.ca/amp/1.4750453

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Sask. rejected Ottawa's offer to cost-share subsidized bus routes once operated by Greyhound

Saskatchewan politicians snubbed the federal government's offer to help replace Western Canadian bus routes abandoned by Greyhound Canada in 2018.

Federal Minister of Transportation Marc Garneau called the move disappointing.

"We were ready on a 50-50 basis to cross share in providing service for lines that would not be covered by the private sector," he said Wednesday.

Garneau said the federal government made the $10-million offer to four provinces, and so far both Manitoba and Saskatchewan have said no.

Garneau said the offer is meant to help mitigate some gaps in service, while the federal government tries to find a long-term solution to inter-city bus travel.

quote:

"Particularly on vulnerable groups, such as seniors and Indigenous women and girls, who may lack access to other means of transportation for safety concerns or to access healthcare services."

Garneau wrote that the private sector has not filled gaps in public transportation.

"There remains a 79 per cent [service] gap within your province. This concerns me greatly," Garneau wrote.

"Restoring this service is more important than partisan politics."

Advocate says federal offer misses the mark

The federal offer stands until October 2020​.

Even if the province changes its mind, that likely won't help the province's most vulnerable people, said Jo-Anne Dusel, executive director of the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan, whose member agencies run shelters for women.

Dusel called the Greyhound routes inadequate and said they were unable to fill expansive gaps in public transportation caused by the closure of STC (Saskatchewan Transportation Company).

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

That is so utterly depressing. Both SK and MB. Good grief. 

JKR

It seems to me that this is an example of how there are significant differences between Liberals and Conservatives.

Aristotleded24

Timebandit wrote:
That is so utterly depressing. Both SK and MB. Good grief.

The worst part for me is that support for the right-wing governments in both provinces is rock-solid in the rural areas that are hurt the most by these decision, other than the First Nations. What will it take to get through to these people?

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I have no idea. Seriously at a loss. 

Sean in Ottawa

I have mixed feelings: I don't see how others outside their communities can or should insist on them spending to provide this. I object tp rural communities voting to restrict spending on social services and public transit outside their communities.

If the ones needing the services don't care who outside gets a response?

This is typical of a number of places -- we saw how the people most hurt by Trump policies are those in the states that elected him...

Misfit Misfit's picture

Sean, it is the rural communities who need the service. They are the ones suffering. It wasn’t the rural communities who said shut down the rural bus service, it was the Saskatchewan government.

Misfit Misfit's picture

And Sean, STC was a crown corporation. It provided a service to rural communities that was essential to rural Saskatchewan. It operated at a loss for a few years so Bead Wall liquidated it.

Sean in Ottawa

Misfit wrote:

Sean, it is the rural communities who need the service. They are the ones suffering. It wasn’t the rural communities who said shut down the rural bus service, it was the Saskatchewan government.

Sorry but wasn't the Conservatives strongest base of support the rural parts of the province? If this is wrong please let me know.

iyraste1313

Article 13. Universal Charter

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

The Canadian Charter is based on thi9s principle in Section 6 on Mobility Rights...but no judgement in favour of the right to access to transport has as far as I know ever been determined.

However the Supreme Court of Canada has also determined that Canada must at least equal the rights established by international law.

In BC it was the so called progressive NDP that forced Greyhound out of service by cancelling all subsidy to the rural areas, leaving a decimated system with access to public transit only to the profit making routes, Kamloops, Kelowna and Whistler, from the Lower Mainland, which of course has a heavily subsidized transit system within the Lower Mainland and into the Fraser Valley.

This must be challenged legally. I just don´t get it, how people can just stand by and do nothing, while people¨s fundamental needs are being so grossly violated. Worse where are the so called climate change activists promoting reduction in fossil fuel consumption. Such gross discrimination (Section 15)!

But of course unlike Venezuela, where the new constitution, likewise based on International Law, was heavily promoted throughout Society, you probably couldn¨t find anybody in Canada that even has a clue, including all Tribunal and Lower Court Justices of the Peace. Not just of the basic precepts of the Sections of our Constitution, but the heart and soul of our Law based in case law!

 

Sean in Ottawa

iyraste1313 wrote:

Article 13. Universal Charter

(1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state.

The Canadian Charter is based on thi9s principle in Section 6 on Mobility Rights...but no judgement in favour of the right to access to transport has as far as I know ever been determined.

However the Supreme Court of Canada has also determined that Canada must at least equal the rights established by international law.

In BC it was the so called progressive NDP that forced Greyhound out of service by cancelling all subsidy to the rural areas, leaving a decimated system with access to public transit only to the profit making routes, Kamloops, Kelowna and Whistler, from the Lower Mainland, which of course has a heavily subsidized transit system within the Lower Mainland and into the Fraser Valley.

This must be challenged legally. I just don´t get it, how people can just stand by and do nothing, while people¨s fundamental needs are being so grossly violated. Worse where are the so called climate change activists promoting reduction in fossil fuel consumption. Such gross discrimination (Section 15)!

But of course unlike Venezuela, where the new constitution, likewise based on International Law, was heavily promoted throughout Society, you probably couldn¨t find anybody in Canada that even has a clue, including all Tribunal and Lower Court Justices of the Peace. Not just of the basic precepts of the Sections of our Constitution, but the heart and soul of our Law based in case law!

 

While I agree that public transit is vital and a right -- I cannot agree that mobility rights under the Charter support that in law. The right is to be able to locate anywhere but it has never been interpreted as a right to have someone else move your person other than you.

Of course I would be delighted if we had a constitution that clearly established a right  to access to housing, food, public transit, all health services and education. As it is now you have a right to those things subject to an ability to pay for much of them.

There is also the elephant in the room which is a where numbers warrant argument. As services are withdrawn, demand for them goes down as well as people will not locate where they do not have them. As bus service declines people move to where it is reliable and thereby reduce demand for the service which is cut again. This can happen in a city, nevermind the country.

Where you have private services and no competition, if a business is allowed to take the cream and leave the rest they will. If the bus company was told that they do not get the right to buses between Toronto and Montreal if they will not serve the rural west, the company would look at the math differently.

I do not agree with the state buying up the rural routes in the West and operating just them. Imagine the federal government buying the whole thing so that the state can use revenue from more profitable lines to cover the costs of these. Greyhound should face that attitude. If they look at Canada as a single enterprise they might find some of these rural routes not so bad. This is a similar approach to the post office. Of course there are addresses much less profitable than others to serve but the post office, owned by the public, for lettermail charges the same. The US post office, a private company, is obliged to take the whole thing and they do that as well.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
The US post office, a private company, is obliged to take the whole thing and they do that as well.

The USPS is and always has been an agency of the government, though like our own CP, it's at arm's length from the government of the day.

Quote:
I do not agree with the state buying up the rural routes in the West and operating just them.

What, specificially, would they need to "buy up"?  I get that the state would need buses, of course, but the "routes"?  Are you thinking of bus stations?  The state, or municipalities who want service could simply build a building, or repurpose an unused one (so long as it's near the road or highway used).  I recall once, taking a "milk run" through southwestern Ontario and stopping at a gas station.  On the very underserved routes, you don't really need much.

 

Misfit Misfit's picture

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Misfit wrote:

Sean, it is the rural communities who need the service. They are the ones suffering. It wasn’t the rural communities who said shut down the rural bus service, it was the Saskatchewan government.

Sorry but wasn't the Conservatives strongest base of support the rural parts of the province? If this is wrong please let me know.

Since Blakeney on, the Saskatchewan NDP has not been a rural party. They have catered to the urban vote and trashed the rural areas for years. Purple gas, the school taxation plan, the cutting of agricultural programs etc. The NDP is not a farmers party at all. Now the majority of seats are rural and they don’t stand a chance of forming government.

you are also implying that because they vote conservative that we somehow should not care. Kinda like if you vote Conservative then you should be cut off from government funded health care because you support the governments that cut back on these programs.

you also seem to have a glib attitude that if you need public transportation then move to the urban centres. This would include all First Nations people leaving their remote communities and moving to the cities because that is the only place where public transportation will be viable and tolerated by some in urban eastern Canada.

public transportation is an essential service. You run STC for the service that it provides to the public and not as a private business that that must maximize profits or not function at all.

WWWTT

There's a lot about Canadian geography, climate and population distribution that would greatly benefit from socialism. Particular to this case, development of infrastructure.

Canada is a big ass country with sparse isolated population distribution. It's obvious that government money has to be spent on efficient accessible and preferably free or at the very least inexpensive transportation. Green if feesible.

Transportation must be treated/approached in a similar manner as health care, free and accesible.

Sean in Ottawa

Misfit wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Misfit wrote:

Sean, it is the rural communities who need the service. They are the ones suffering. It wasn’t the rural communities who said shut down the rural bus service, it was the Saskatchewan government.

Sorry but wasn't the Conservatives strongest base of support the rural parts of the province? If this is wrong please let me know.

Since Blakeney on, the Saskatchewan NDP has not been a rural party. They have catered to the urban vote and trashed the rural areas for years. Purple gas, the school taxation plan, the cutting of agricultural programs etc. The NDP is not a farmers party at all. Now the majority of seats are rural and they don’t stand a chance of forming government.

you are also implying that because they vote conservative that we somehow should not care. Kinda like if you vote Conservative then you should be cut off from government funded health care because you support the governments that cut back on these programs.

you also seem to have a glib attitude that if you need public transportation then move to the urban centres. This would include all First Nations people leaving their remote communities and moving to the cities because that is the only place where public transportation will be viable and tolerated by some in urban eastern Canada.

public transportation is an essential service. You run STC for the service that it provides to the public and not as a private business that that must maximize profits or not function at all.

I am not being glib about this at all. You are also mixing two issues:

1) Issues that are presently universal and rural areas do not support -- eg healthcare

2) Issues where there is no present national reaelity (as much as I would support one). Inter-municipal, intercity, and local transport is private and/or regional. To say we shoudl impose a public option on a regional basis on a region who does not want it and will not pay for it is a different issue than inisisting that healthcare be delivered universally.

I am also not being glib in pointing out the problem that it is difficult, as much as we may want it, to get policies that lack support. For one part of the country to push for programs UNIQUE to a region that does not want them is problematic. It is less like healthcare than a demand for gun control only in a few rural communities who do not want them.

Please don't lecture me that transit is an essential service since you have been here long enough to see that I have argued that point and that it should even be free.

There are consequeneces for regions to elect governments that do not want certain things when it comes to the provision of those same things. I am not being glib to say that. True even if I support those things and a minority there I agree should have them.

cco

There's an interesting implicit bias (not on your part, Sean, but on the part of transit planners and in a lot of these discussions) at work here: the idea that public transportation to an outlying area is exclusively for the benefit of residents of that area. If people from (say) Moose Jaw vote not to have a bus to Saskatoon, the idea goes, that's their decision. The fact people in Saskatoon might want to have a bus to Moose Jaw is irrelevant. It's the same logic that lets Via Rail abandon service to Gaspé, because there are only 15,000 people there, or that lets people in affluent suburbs block the construction of transit that'd "bring the riff-raff". The basic concept is that downtown/the major cities are for everyone, whereas the more isolated communities are private property and can decide who gets to come in or out. (This doesn't apply to the construction of roads, of course.) It makes it hard or impossible for people to reverse-commute and encourages higher emissions.

Sean in Ottawa

@Misfit

To make the argument on healthcare would be if we had no public healthcare nationally but wanted to get it for the part of the country that does not want it.

Part of the problem here is that Canada has fewer people in rural areas reliant on public transit now than it did 100 years ago. People used horses and the rural areas were well populated. Then came mechanized transit. At first public transit extended as those in the country did not have cars. Then more got cars and urbanization took off so more located in cities that expanded. The result is that there are few people in many places that would use transit and this is essentially why a private company does not want to provide service.

What has happened in some places (in the US) where this has happened in small cities is that they scrapped running empty buses and funded taxis as it was cheaper to run a car for one person than a bus.

The problem of running buses where tehre is no density that wants them is that they are simply unaffordable and that the reasons for urbanization, and majority car use are not things the bus company can manage.

The transportation problem is not just in small communities in rural Canada it is also in cities. In cities the transit is poor. Parts of the capital of Canada have no transit. Parts of the city have transit one way but not another -- for example there is a business park with retail and offices where transit is designed for those who live there to leave in the morning and come home at night. There is nothing for those who want to go the opposite direction.

To fix transit it may be more practical to make it free in the city (charge car users there fees to drive in the city to pay for it) and this would create a greater critical mass - demand - to extend service. From there run lines out of the cities to nearby rural places (as Clive Doucet proposed in the last mayoral election). Then once done link all rural places up.

Yes a long time.

However, you don't start to build a web of transit where there is no demand and eventually reach the places where there is.

That said, there are arguments to retian where possible what exists. However, the problem is the decline in quality of the service has reduced demand as people needing it move so the present Grehound system is unsustainable for public or private. For now, I suggest a plan to grow from good transit from the places where demand presently exists and to address the problem of the minority who need it by using some sort of on demand car system rather than running an empty bus with all the fuel and polution  that means pretending that there are enough users even when there are not. Mini-buses could be used in some places as well. Pint being thattransit service of the kind Greyhound left is not practical in most places. Some system could be designed for the few remainaing who need it but then to make people move back you need to grow outwards from where demand is.

Again -- not being glib. this is a real problem and denial on this site pretending that it is affordable to send empyt buses at a huge loss is not going to fix it. There are many priorities: health care preservation and extension, retreats in public support for education and childcare, income support public housing. We can't just say we can provide everything right now becuase we, in the city, think it is a public right and it should be that way. We can't overrule the majority of voters in a province who refuse to finance the system (wanting tax cuts) to supply a service we think is essential that they do not want.

More to the point -- we have to decide as a nation (collective majority) that we want something universal rather than fill in gaps where the local people won't cover it or it is not sustainable. Healthcare became a universally recognized right to impose on all parts of Canada becuase a majority government of Canada did that. There is no majority government of Canada that has made a decision to override local people to make a naitonally recognized right of transportation so you would think starting to build it where there is demand and where people want it is a priority. There are cities in Saskatchewan with terrible transit where more depend on it and where the community voted in the majority to have such programs. They could be first -- economically, practically, democratically and morally

Sean in Ottawa

cco wrote:
There's an interesting implicit bias (not on your part, Sean, but on the part of transit planners and in a lot of these discussions) at work here: the idea that public transportation to an outlying area is exclusively for the benefit of residents of that area. If people from (say) Moose Jaw vote not to have a bus to Saskatoon, the idea goes, that's their decision. The fact people in Saskatoon might want to have a bus to Moose Jaw is irrelevant. It's the same logic that lets Via Rail abandon service to Gaspé, because there are only 15,000 people there, or that lets people in affluent suburbs block the construction of transit that'd "bring the riff-raff". The basic concept is that downtown/the major cities are for everyone, whereas the more isolated communities are private property and can decide who gets to come in or out. (This doesn't apply to the construction of roads, of course.) It makes it hard or impossible for people to reverse-commute and encourages higher emissions.

 

Good points: there is a difference between profitability in terms of a minor loss being subsidized by a profit somewhere else (the way a public system looks at it) and a private system where a no loss that can be cut off is tolerable.

This is different than extreme situations where provision of the service is at such great loss that it imperils the system to provide it.

Sean in Ottawa

I will make another transit observation that Greyhound may be thinking about and people here may not. There is a technological revolution happening.

Presently we only have larger, mass, labour intensive public transit or private cars by those able to afford to own and have the ability to operate them. We all know this dichotomy is ending.

What will replace it is a transit method where you can use a car, without a driver and without knowing how to or being able to drive. This will change private transport radically meaning many people will retain private transit when they would have been forced onto public transit.

This will change public transit: first it will remove ridership of the people that will be able to retain private transit and they will not longer pay into the system or be users of larger means of transport like buses. Second public transit will have the option to use on demand dispatch of smaller vehicles to adapt imediately to demand. All these vehicles will operate independently of direct labour. Instead, there will be labour to operate the system remotely and only arrive to deal with problems. This means instead of running large buses to 2 am in the city they might send a car and the route won't go around the city but address where the people want to go. For the rural communities regional parking lots of autonomous cars, van and buses, can be parked around the province and as demand arrives they will start up and go to where needed - and cruacially when they leave their passangers can return or go to the next one without a driver. This will cost a fraction of what any system does now. The flexibility is light years ahead of what there is now.

Seeing this writing on the wall, large companies may now see the technology and realize that there is no point investing in a system using drivers and gas vehicles knowing the entire system is going.

If you believe that public transit is a right -- as I do -- instead of investing just in a place where the majority do not want the service and demand is too low do something bolder. Call for a Canada-wide network to be built as soon as possible of integrated, on demand, size and place apporpirate, autonomous vehicles running on renewable electricity. The government could draw in its best companies and invest billions. The reuslt would be worth it, sustainable economically and environmentally and extremely progressive. It would transform rural, remote and Indigenous communities.

Then we are talking.

Misfit Misfit's picture

Where did you get this silly notion that the people VOTED not to have public transportation? Nobody VOTED for anything! We DID have a crown corporation that serviced rural areas. The government shut that frown corporation down and liquidated all the assets. The people did not vote on anything. So yes we DID have that service and now we DONT have that service.

Blame us for not having that service anymore when it was US that had a crown corporation providing that service to rural areas.

Misfit Misfit's picture

Sean wrote:

”1) Issues that are presently universal and rural areas do not support -- eg healthcare”

what???  What an absurd statement! Rural Saskatchewan does support universal healthcare and there is no evidence that the residents of rural Saskatchewan do not support universal healthcare.

Sean in Ottawa

Misfit wrote:

Where did you get this silly notion that the people VOTED not to have public transportation? Nobody VOTED for anything! We DID have a crown corporation that serviced rural areas. The government shut that frown corporation down and liquidated all the assets. The people did not vote on anything. So yes we DID have that service and now we DONT have that service.

Blame us for not having that service anymore when it was US that had a crown corporation providing that service to rural areas.

Rural areas voted very strongly for your present government.

Sure people can pretend that Conservatives don't do this sort of thing but others may not join them in the idea that Conservative governments are not predictable.

Sure specific conservative policies may not be known but this is what they do.

The province had other things but they elected and re-elected Conservative governments who will take those down. The rural areas are the Sask party's stronghold:

"Brad Wall's party took 72 per cent of the vote in Saskatchewan's rural constituencies, up about a point from its performance in 2011. The New Democrats, however, slid five points to only 20 per cent in this part of the province."

The point of view that is behind Sask party is one in favour of private rather than public solutions. The current crisis is about a private company discontinuing service. Rural Saskatchewan was decisive in elected a right wing government.

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