No decision yet on bus routes

The Manitoba Motor Transport Board is still ruminating on whether to approve the 30 applications for changes to bus routes in that province, which will have an impact on service in Northwestern Ontario.
A board spokesperson said they still are going over information submitted by Greyhound as well as testimony collected at public hearings held across Manitoba in March, April, and May.
A decision likely will be made in mid-late July, the spokesperson noted.
Some of the Greyhound and Grey Goose route changes will affect residents of Northwestern Ontario. For instance, the bus company has applied to reduce service between Winnipeg and Fort Frances to one daily run.
There currently are three buses—one daily, one that runs Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and another that runs every day except Wednesdays, Saturdays, and holidays.
The daily run from Fort Frances to Thunder Bay likely would be affected, too, since the company treats the Winnipeg-Thunder Bay route as a single corridor.
Residents in the Kenora area also will be affected if the proposed changes are approved.
While Greyhound must obtain permission from the Manitoba Motor Transport Board before reducing service, there is no such process in Ontario.
The company only is required to notify the Ontario government of any changes, but does not require permission.
In Ontario, Greyhound is subject to the Public Vehicles Act, which states if a company plans to completely cancel an inter-city route, they must give 90 days’ advance notice to both the public in that service area and the transportation minister.
This is called “full route abandonment,” explained ministry spokesman Bob Nichols.
If the company wants to make “major” reductions, which includes reductions of 25 percent or more of total weekly arrivals and departures, it must provide 30 days’ advance notice to the public and the minister.
Public notice generally is done through advertising.
“The minister does not have any authority to prevent service reductions or cancellations from occurring,” Nichols said.
In Manitoba, major service reductions must be approved by the Motor Transport Board—an independent economic regulatory tribunal whose mandate is to ensure Manitobans are provided adequate transportation service at a reasonable cost.
Bus service in Fort Frances took a blow Jan. 1 when Greyhound began shipping packages destined for Winnipeg through Thunder Bay.
The change was due to a new process at U.S. Customs called the Customs Automated Forms Entry System (CAFES), which requires all freight travelling through the U.S. to be electronically registered in advance.
The bus from Fort Frances to Winnipeg spends about 45 minutes in the U.S. between Baudette and Warroad, Mn.
Prior to Jan. 1, Greyhound would seal the compartments containing freight to meet U.S. security regulations, but this no longer is sufficient.
Paul Bock, owner of North Air Services here, had noted back in January that the shipment of freight accounted for a large portion of the revenue on that bus route.
“I’m wondering how long that run from Winnipeg is going to continue if there’s no freight to help with the revenue. It’s going to be tough to make that run viable,” he had warned at the time.

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