With Greyhound set to discontinue operations in early December, the McGuinty Liberals still appear to be completely clueless on the future of bus service in Northwestern Ontario.
During question period at Queen’s Park on Monday, Kenora-Rainy River MPP Hampton reminded Transportation minister Jim Bradley that Greyhound’s deadline for the termination of service is looming.
“In just a couple of short weeks, Greyhound is slated to discontinue bus services across Northwestern Ontario between Sault Ste. Marie and the Manitoba border,” Hampton noted.
“Can the minister tell people if Greyhound is going to continue the bus service, or are people going to be left high and dry by the McGuinty government again?”
Bradley replied that the McGuinty government is working to ensure there is a replacement service should Greyhound leave.
He claimed there are at least two other companies interested in pursuing the northwestern bus routes.
However, public vehicles providing transportation for compensation in Ontario need a licence to offer such a service and, according to an Ontario Highway Transit Board official contacted by the Ontario NDP caucus, no such applications have been received recently.
The official further noted that it normally takes at least six-eight weeks to process an application, although a temporary permit can be issued faster.
The official added it is getting dangerously close to the deadline to provide a temporary permit before Greyhound’s Dec. 3 cut-off date.
“Either Jim Bradley is out to lunch on how his own ministry works or he is attempting to mislead Northwestern Ontario residents on just how precarious the situation is,” Hampton charged.
“The reality is that bus service may end in two weeks,” he warned. “There are people across Northwestern Ontario with no transportation alternative and the McGuinty government’s only response is to admit to being completely clueless.
“It truly is astounding.”