TORONTO — Greyhound has completely closed its companies in Canada after almost a century, the inter-city bus operator stated on Thursday, because the COVID-19 pandemic dented demand for public transport.

The transfer is a blow to Canada’s rural communities, which have relied on buses to attach them to bigger cities. The corporate ended all companies in western Canada in 2018 resulting from falling ridership in rural areas and elevated competitors.

“A full yr with out income has sadly made it unattainable to proceed operations,” Stuart Kendrick, senior vp of the agency, which is owned by British transport operator FirstGroup, stated in an announcement.

The transfer has no impression on Greyhound Traces Inc (USA), which is a separate entity from Greyhound Canada, and can proceed to function cross-border categorical companies when the border reopens.

Greyhound, which began operations in Canada in 1929, stated the federal and provincial governments had not prolonged wanted funding in inter-city bus companies. “Operations will not be possible absent of monetary assist,” the assertion added.

The federal authorities has been underneath strain lately to raised hyperlink rural cities to bigger city hubs as Greyhound in the reduction of routes and airways reminiscent of Air Canada and Onex Corp-owned Westjet canceled or paused service to distant areas.

Omar Alghabra, the federal transport minister, stated he was disillusioned by Greyhound Canada’s closure.

“We all know that many Canadians rely upon this service,” Alghabra stated in an announcement on Twitter, including that the federal government will work with the provinces to handle the hole in transportation left by the bus firm.

(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru and Moira Warburton in Toronto; Modifying by Shounak Dasgupta and Cynthia Osterman)

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