Catching the ‘Hound soon a thing of the past in St. Thomas/Elgin

Posted by Ian:
One of the most iconic names in North American ground transportation is about to sever a decades-long relationship with St. Thomas.
As of April 10, travellers will no longer be able to board a Greyhound bus in the city, one of a dozen stops on the meandering London to Niagara Falls Highway 3 route that, over the years, has been cut back to a Fridays-only service.
Greyhound Canada vice-president Stuart Kendrick told the Times-Journal with just a handful of passengers hopping aboard the ‘Hound for the scenic service, it’s a matter of economics that will be mirrored on other inter-city routes in the province.

“It’s not a happy decision we’ve made,” noted Kendrick, “and unfortunately it’s one we’ve had to do in many other small communities to address the economics and rural decline in ridership.
“Our route rationalization goes on all the time. We’ve been in the business a long time and there’s many times we’ve kept routes on and hope things will turn around, but when you’re carrying less than seven people on a lot of these rural routes you do have to make that tough business decision.”
Kendrick hopes the discontinuance of these services will allow the company to “break even” on its Ontario operations.
He added the situation in the province is aggravated by subsidies available to other carriers like GO Transit and Via Rail.
“Subsidies aren’t available to private bus carriers,” he stressed, “and we’ve been trying to bring awareness to the fact a lot of these rural routes are under extreme pressures with Greyhound and other carriers.
“When you have GO Transit and Via Rail with hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies and they’re expanding into your routes that historically have made money, even those routes eventually are going to have to come under review.”
Kendrick stressed the long-term future of its cross-country operations will rely on the outcome of the federal-provincial-territorial working group that is due to recommend changes in September.
The company said last fall it needed $15 million in government aid in order to subsidize its unprofitable routes or it would be forced to implement service cuts.
Kendrick, whose father drove for Greyhound in this area, suggested discontinuance of the route through the city will end approximately 60 years of serving St. Thomas and Elgin.

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