Liberals Demand Funding Fairness for Rural & Northern Buses


WINNIPEG – With Greyhound announcing that it is ceasing operations across Western Canada, Manitoba Liberals say the provincial and federal governments need to step up to provide support for inter-city transit, and not just transit systems in urban centres.

There is still no clear plan as to where the province will invest the cash collected from Pallister’s proposed Carbon Tax. A portion of the estimated $248 million in net revenue could be used to provide support for inter-city transit, said Dougald Lamont, Manitoba Liberal Leader and MLA candidate for St. Boniface.

Without inter-city bus service, thousands of rural and northern residents who depend on bus service to travel, especially to medical appointments, will be left stranded in their communities.

“The federal and provincial governments provide public support for transit inside the perimeter, as a matter of fairness and equality, we must be willing to invest so Manitobans outside the perimeter can afford to travel as well,” said Lamont.

Lamont said the alternative for many residents is air travel which for many people would be out of reach, or would require an even greater subsidy.

Liberal MLA for Kewatinook, Judy Klassen, says her constituents use the bus service as their primary method of transportation to medical appointments.

“I’ve heard from a local northern bus operator who is willing to take over some of the cancelled routes, but if a large company like Greyhound can’t afford to service the routes, how would smaller operators survive,” said Klassen. “That’s why we need support from both levels of government. The government has a role to play.”

Government funding or even operating transit services is hardly a new concept. Governments in Canada have owned and operated airlines, railways, bus systems, and public urban transit in cities and municipalities receives support from all levels of government.

“Public investment in inter-city bus transportation would eliminate a double standard that currently treats northern and rural residents as second-class citizens,” said Lamont. “We need to govern for everyone, not just those who live in urban centres.”