Amalgamated Transit Union

Amalgamated Transit Union

July 26, 2011 14:49 ET

Deregulating Intercity Bus Services Will Deal a Lethal Blow to Rural Communities

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 26, 2011) - The Alberta government's proposal to deregulate intercity bus services will deal a lethal blow to rural communities, says Stan Dera, Canadian Director of the Amalgamated Transit Union.

Intercity bus transportation is part of the country's overall surface transportation network and holds particular importance for smaller and rural communities, where air or passenger rail travel options are not available. Intercity bus service also provides a transportation option that is more affordable than air or rail, when those services are available, which is significant for many residents in rural areas.

The North American experience of deregulating the bus industry has shown that corporations will almost instantly cancel rural services, as these routes are not as lucrative as their more urban routes. This impacts the young and the elderly, as well as lower income families in a disproportionate manner, as these groups are the primary users of rural bus services.

Overall regulation of the bus industry tends to assure adequate transportation service throughout a region, while protecting consumers in terms of monopoly pricing, safety and liability. However, after deregulation, rural routes are cut as corporations focus on more lucrative urban routes.

"In the United States, where deregulation occurred several decades ago, bus transportation companies stopped providing rural bus services," says Dera. "They abandoned rural routes, along with the passengers who depend on the services. We will see the same thing in Canada - plans have already been made to end rural bus services in Alberta, as soon as possible."

Other negative impacts from deregulation of the transportation industry include a decrease in employment and a decrease in transportation safety, says Dera.

The Amalgamated Transit Union is the largest labour union for transit workers in North America with over 180,000 members. The ATU membership includes bus, subway, light rail and ferry operators, clerks, baggage handlers, mechanics and others in public transit, inter-city and school bus industries.

Contact Information

  • For more information or to schedule an interview
    please contact:
    Stan Dera
    Canadian Director