It looks like Greyhound Canada’s decision to stop passenger and freight service in Western Canada come October 31 will end up costing taxpayers whether municipal, provincial, or the federal government decides to intervene in an effort to create their own services.
Over the years, when Greyhound has eliminated routes, governments have stepped in to fill the void. For example, in 2017, when Greyhound eliminated service to many Northern B.C. communities the provincial government stepped in to provide limited bus service. Northern Health, the equivalent to Alberta Health Services’ North Zone, also provides low-cost fares to patients and their companions, needing to go to a larger centre for medical appointments. The Alberta government also has decided to extend a new rural bus pilot program, adding new routes in Red Deer County and between Medicine Hat and Lethbridge after Greyhound’s latest announcement.
But the question is who will step in to fill the void in transporting Canada’s inmates, or rather former inmates?
Did you know when an inmate is released from whatever institution they have been calling home for the last few months, or years, if they cannot arrange transportation in the form of a friend, loved one, someone from a support group, et. cetera, to return home, it falls to the various correctional services to provide transportation back to their “court of origin”, treatment centre or other court-mandated services?
In many cases, providing transportation means giving the former inmates a transportation allowance or voucher, which is redeemed for plane, train or bus tickets.
In the cases when this isn’t possible, at least according to a correctional centre warden in B.C., correctional staff are often drafted to drive them.
However, regardless if it is someone from the various correctional services that provides the service, or it is contracted out to another government or private service, there will be financial ramifications.
The question is what level of government will be responsible for picking up those costs? However, regardless of who that is, it is evident Greyhound Canada’s decision to shut down its routes in Western Canada will have ramifications few have thought of.