OTTAWA – Today, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh called on the government to help people who rely on the inter-city bus industry, which has seen a 95% drop in ridership because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A number of regional inter-city bus companies across the country have already canceled their services and yesterday, Greyhound Canada announced they are suspending their bussing and service operations.
“The loss of inter-city bussing is another big hit to people who have the least. It’s going to put hundreds of people out of work and leave hundreds more stranded,” said Singh. “Across the country, in rural communities and big cities it is primarily women, low-income earners, seniors, and many essential workers who depend on these busses to get to school, to medical appointments in other cities, to visit family, and to commute to and look for work. People need this service.”
For weeks, the government has been in talks with the airline industry about a bail out package and while airlines are an important and hard-hit sector, intercity busing will be vital for reopening our economy post-COVID-19. Without help, there is a very real risk of companies not surviving until then.
In order to survive, bus companies are asking the federal government for $26 million to fund all five companies at 50% of their pre-COVID-19 capacity for six months.
“The inter-city bus companies have asked for relatively little to keep rolling. The federal government has to quit pointing fingers and make sure the crucial bus companies and the people who rely on them get the support they need,” added Singh. “Investing in bus transportation has to be part of our efforts to fight climate change and be part of the economic recovery.”