After almost a century, North America's largest motorcoach operator Greyhound announced Thursday it is shutting down all of its remaining intercity bus routes in Canada, blaming the pandemic for a sharp drop in its already dwindling ridership.
Featured in movies and songs, the iconic bus company pulled out of Western Canada in 2018 and suspended service in Ontario and Quebec last year after a 95 percent drop in ridership at the start of the pandemic.
"A full year without revenue has unfortunately made it impossible to continue operations," Greyhound Canada senior vice president Stuart Kendrick said in a statement.
It has also struggled, he said, with increasing competition from discount airlines and public train and transit systems, as well as deregulation that further threatened its exclusive routes.
The company's decision to shut down is a particular blow to rural and remote parts of Canada that relied on bus transportation between towns and cities.
Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said he was "disappointed" by the company's decision, noting that "many Canadians depend on this service."
The government will "explore options to address this gap" in transportation, he added.
This sentiment was echoed by Amalgamated Transit Union president John Costa, who said Greyhound buses for generations have been "the only form of transportation to connect people living in small towns across Canada with larger cities."
"This is devastating news for the thousands of Canadians," he said. "Seniors won't be able to visit their families, students won't be able to get to school, and many others will be left stranded."
Some 400 Greyhound workers are also losing their jobs, he said.
The company said it will refund ticket holders. It will also continue to operate cross-border services from US cities to Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver when the Canada-US border reopens.