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Only 56% of Greyhound northern routes shuttered in 2018 covered by BC Bus North: report

The auditor general of B.C. released the results of an audit on Tuesday, Nov. 16
BC Bus North is an interim program run by the provincial government meant to replace Greyhound buses in Northern B.C. communities. An auditor general’s report released on Tuesday, Nov. 16 made three recommendations to improve the service. (B.C. Transit photo)

The auditor general’s report on northern B.C.’s bus service found the government run replacement for Greyhound needs improvement, recommending three changes to ensure the provincial government continues to improve the BC Bus North service.

The Ministry of Infrastructure and Transportation has accepted the results of the report.

After Greyhound Canada withdrew service in 2018, the ministry created an interim service called BC Bus North.

READ MORE: Province launches new bus service to replace some discontinued Greyhound routes

The auditor general found the government provided service to 56 per cent of former Greyhound stops, with routes only once or twice per week at a lower cost than the former private operator.

“We made three recommendations focused on monitoring agreements, developing a plan, and engaging communities,” the audit at a glance reads.

The audit found the ministry monitored financial data but not all passenger and service data required.

“The ministry has made progress in its planning but needs to make clear how its province-wide plan will support northern B.C. specifically,” Michael Pickup, the province’s auditor general said.

“Northern regions have particular transportation needs - the distances are vast, roads can be treacherous and alternatives are few. People’s livelihoods are on the line. I hope the ministry will consult with northern residents to ensure that the plan meets the unique needs of the region.”

Recommendations include ensuring the ministry receives and reviews monitoring reports as set out in agreements, that the plan for provincewide ground transportation includes options for sustainable solutions in northern B.C. and broad engagement with northern communities as part of planning for sustainable ground transportation solutions.

The audit at a glance notes while the ministry delivered a long-distance bus service to northern communities, “the delivery did not fully align with its direction to BC Transit.”

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