It was a year ago when Greyhound ceased bus service in Western Canada citing high operating costs and a lack of ridership. So, currently there's no regular bus service between Brandon and Winnipeg - and Brandon and Regina. John DiNino, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union, wants Ottawa to restart passenger bus service on the routes Greyhound used to serve. "The closure of intercity transit last year tore a hole in the fabric of our country, which has yet to be repaired," he says. "People are tired of waiting in isolation. It's about moving people to and from work, taking them to medical appointments and taking our children to school. This is really a mobility issue and the government has failed us on this." DiNino says right now there's a patchwork of contractors operating on what they see as the most profitable routes, but says what's really needed is a national plan. "Public transit shouldn't be for profit," he says. "This is not about making money, it's a necessity for all Canadians in every community to be able to access affordable, safe, reliable transit across this country," he says. The ATU wants Ottawa to step up and provide funding to get the buses moving again, but DiNino understands it might not be easy getting tax dollars. "It's not going to be an easy sell, but they did this historically," he says. "Greyhound, when they were operating in Western Canada, they were subsidized by the government."
ATU Canada is also encouraging individuals and community groups to visit ATUCanada.ca and help build a network of intercity transit supporters.