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This article was published 28/10/2009 (4141 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The Manitoba government hopes to leave the driving to Greyhound after offering a package of route reductions and financial aid to keep the bus service in the province.
The two sides met Tuesday and Greyhound liked enough of what Transport Minister Ron Lemieux said to cancel its Monday deadline for pulling out of Manitoba. The company will continue running buses for the foreseeable future.
"We've agreed to work together to find a mutually satisfactory solution," Lemieux said. That will include Greyhound opening its books to show just where buses are losing money, and how much. The company says it loses more than $4 million per year in Manitoba on passenger service.
"Both the government and company agree that some combination of direct investment and reduction of service will be required," Greyhound said in a press release.
British Columbia recently struck a deal with Greyhound in which more than $4 million in losses were wiped out through route reduction and no subsidies.
"We're looking at a combination," Lemieux said.
"We can't cover the full $4 million without the federal government picking up 50 per cent of it, for example," Lemieux said. He wouldn't say how much the province is prepared to pick up, or whether it will be an annual subsidy.
Ottawa has said no to any financial assistance.
"The federal government is saying they don't want to participate in this. It's regrettable. It's a national service," Lemieux said. "A lot of federal agencies use and depend on bus service," including Indian and Northern Affairs Canada.
The Manitoba government will also continue to negotiate with other possible carriers in case they can provide a better plan to serve Manitoba. The province has had preliminary talks with Boutin Bus Lines and Caribou Coach of Northwestern Ontario.
"We're prepared to look at other reasonable offers, too. There are other companies out there. We've told Greyhound we're going to be doing that," Lemieux said.
"But today, who has the capacity and the ability to haul people in this province? That's Greyhound. Greyhound has the kiosks, they have the labour force, they have the buses."
No deadline has been set to reach an agreement.
Lemieux said Manitobans need a bus service. "As a province, we have to seriously look at the health-care routes. There's northern patient transportation that needs to take place," Lemieux said. "So we have to do our homework as well to determine where those services are necessary."