Greyhound will move its Nanaimo bus depot to the Departure Bay ferry terminal sometime next month. The bus company served notice to its current landlord, Howard Johnson hotel, it will vacate on Sept. 30.
It streamlines service for Greyhound, which lost $14 million in fiscal 2011-12 and has cut service across B.C., including three Island routes earlier this year.
The move will better link connections for inbound and outgoing travelers traveling to and from other Island destinations.
None of the parties would disclose lease rates, so it isn't known how the deal affects Greyhound operational costs. The Departure Bay terminal recently underwent a major expansion.
B.C. Ferries and Greyhound both say the the new arrangement benefits travellers. "Our current location has served us well for many years, but Greyhound has decided to move into the B.C. Ferries terminal at Departure Bay," said Ryan LaFontaine, Greyhound spokesman, by email.
"We will share that location with our inter-line partner TofinoBus, and hope to be operational in the new location sometime in October."
"We feel it's good for our customers," said Deborah Marshall, B.C. Ferries spokeswoman. "If customers want to jump off and go somewhere else, it's convenient
for (them)." And B.C. Ferries gets new revenues, "which is good," she said. Nanaimo resident Kevin Hicks lives close to the existing bus depot, so he sees the change as an inconvenience.
But some travellers like the idea.
"It would be nice to get off the ferry and go right to the (bus) station," said Ryan Friesen, of Courtenay, a frequent Greyhound user.
It's a blow to Greyhound's current landlord.
"It's a huge impact on the hotel," said Dan Brady, Howard Johnson manager.
City councillors hoped to include Greyhound in a transit hub proposed for the old CPR Wellcox land downtown.
So this decision came as a surprise to Coun. George Anderson, city transportation committee chairman.
"Obviously they had to make their own choices (but) personally I would like to have seen this type of thing happen in the downtown core," said George Anderson.
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