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I've been traveling on Greyhound for almost a year now and a thought struck me the other day when i was coming back to Toronto from Rochester, New York.

It seems that the new Prevost buses aquired by GH Canada aren't actually new.

The new X3-45's are always on the New York City-Toronto and London-Detroit-Chicago routes but never on any local routes in the GTA. They do however operate x3-45's with fleet number 88xx but a driver told me they were from 2008 and were transferred to GH Canada in 2014.

He told me when they came to Canada they were plagued with problems. Transmissions were falling out of them, body damage, ripped seats, power outlets not working and missing buttons and such in the drivers area.

My question is, if Greyhound is advertising the purchase of new buses (86xxx), why is the Canadian side getting the shitty end of the stick? The bus I was on was really nice, the seats had seat belts, the outlets were REAL power outlets, and the drive was smooth.

All the older MCI buses from the US is being sent to Canada for a 2nd life but why be greedy with the new fleet if they're practically the same company?

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Apparently the Canadian operation isn't making money so no new buses for us.

I have been wondering that as well... Newest MCI's delivered to Greyhound Canada to my knowledge are the 2006 MCI D4505's for western Canada that I know of.

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Apparently the Canadian operation isn't making money so no new buses for us.

USA needed accessible buses for line runs as per ADA rules , so in the past few years they have been really replacing most of the USA fleet. Now that most of the fleet has been replaced some of the older Prevost has been sent to Canada. Also is the parcel operations for Canada still a large profit for Greyhound/First ?

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Greyhound Canada Makes Money...But you have to realize the way Dallas thinks...The Parcel division makes a shit load of money...passenger division maybe not on some routes....But u add the two together and u get a profit situation. You should be able to run a empty bus with a trailer full of Freight and Make money easily.. The passengers are just the Gravy...Also Greyhound Could Make More if they really wanted to...THey do very few Charters its a segment they should get into more...ad with the refurbs now they would have some of the best buses in Canada for charters!


So Greyhound figures the passengers are not makin money lets reduce service or cut the route...Yet a shit load of freight still is hauled daily. Sure drivers only get 80% drivin a freight truck...But the other 20% (passengers) make up for the rest without a truck.! It used to work both passengers and freight were combined and Greyhound made a shit load more than they r now

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Greyhound Canada Makes Money...But you have to realize the way Dallas thinks...The Parcel division makes a shit load of money...passenger division maybe not on some routes....But u add the two together and u get a profit situation. You should be able to run a empty bus with a trailer full of Freight and Make money easily.. The passengers are just the Gravy...Also Greyhound Could Make More if they really wanted to...THey do very few Charters its a segment they should get into more...ad with the refurbs now they would have some of the best buses in Canada for charters!

So Greyhound figures the passengers are not makin money lets reduce service or cut the route...Yet a shit load of freight still is hauled daily. Sure drivers only get 80% drivin a freight truck...But the other 20% (passengers) make up for the rest without a truck.! It used to work both passengers and freight were combined and Greyhound made a shit load more than they r now

I'd love to see some sources for your above profitability statements.

After reading this post, I went and reread First Group's 2014 Annual Report, including the Income Statement and Balance Sheet. As First Group is a UK held corporation, they fall under different reporting requirements than a US or Canadian held corporation.

However, the Annual Report has "Greyhound" lumped into a separate category (different than UK Bus, UK rail, North America School Bus, whatever). Unfortunately, they do not differentiate between GLI and GCTC ... they are consolidated into one category.

There are a couple of things we know:

Greyhound Lines Inc has successfully pulled off one of the hardest strategies in business; they have executed a "shrink to grow" plan. For many companies, shrink to grow is a death sentence ... they keep shrinking and never start growing because they shrunk to nothing. GLI has reduced routes (okay, some of that started a decade ago under different ownership) but more importantly has successfully implemented yield management on many of its routes.

Gone are the days when you could travel the US by Greyhound and see spare coaches stashed all over the system. Ad hoc second sections are rare, and holiday overload rentals are a thing of the past in all but the busiest corridors.

Meanwhile, up in Canada, GCTC is still running routes and frequencies dictated by the regulating authority. Instead of sending out full coaches at a lesser headway, they are still running lots of half-full equipment on long, isolated routes.

Certainly the parcel business helps support many of these rural and local routes. But do the profits offset the losses? GCTC accounted for around 25% of the revenue of Greyhound in 2014 and the overall operating margin was 7.4% for both groups combined. There isn't a lot of wiggle room in the combined entity.

Finally, in regards to charters. I take issue with your statement that the refurbs would be great for charters. They would be okay for charters as the majority do not have a DVD system installed. That is a deal breaker for many groups, even if they never end up using the system. Additionally, if you are right sizing your fleet to keep the utilization up on the scheduled service you operate, where do the buses come from to operate charters?

Charters are a tough business, and success depends on a couple of items. A smart, knowledgable, sales team that is able to understand the customers' needs through experience and an inherent geographical knowledge of the area. Steady, reliable customers (school districts, universities, major corporations) with whom a long term relationship can be cultivated (oh, and when they call, you better move heaven and earth to get them a bus). Customer service and local knowledge from the driver, who is the ambassador of your product (typically not the skills needed when driving a schedule).

Greyhound Canada has none of the three as part of their core competencies. While it is tempting to view doing charters as the "frosting on the cake" that is rarely a successful strategy. Either you are set up to operate them, or you aren't ... and if you do, you have to go all in.

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I've read that Greyhound Canada lost 8.5 million in the last fiscal year. As far as overloads does anybody know how many passengers you need on a coach to reach the break even point? I think the yield management has it's good points but at the same time capping overloads at Christmas is probably shooting themselves in the foot, if they are running with full coaches surely they are making enough money to add overloads even using foreign lines. Turning people away at peak times like that results in a loss of good will, if people can't get where they want to go at times like that they are going to chose other options if they can.

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I've read that Greyhound Canada lost 8.5 million in the last fiscal year. As far as overloads does anybody know how many passengers you need on a coach to reach the break even point? I think the yield management has it's good points but at the same time capping overloads at Christmas is probably shooting themselves in the foot, if they are running with full coaches surely they are making enough money to add overloads even using foreign lines. Turning people away at peak times like that results in a loss of good will, if people can't get where they want to go at times like that they are going to chose other options if they can.

Break-even point is difficult to calculate by anyone not working in revenue management at the 'Hound.

If you run a simple second section like Seattle-Stanfield, OR, you have passengers on board that are have tickets that are entirely captured by the trip (meaning their trip begins or ends at any stop between Seattle and Stanfield, inclusive).

You also have passengers continuing at Stanfield on the eastbound coach to Boise and Denver. Some of them will continue to past Denver to points east.

Greyhound knows how this revenue is allocated to each separate schedule. You and I do not.

However, when a company I worked for did holiday rentals, I knew what rate we were charging Greyhound for the service. Given that the work popped up during a very slow season for charters, I often gave them a pretty good rate given the volume of business. However, even discounting the off-peak charter rates, I felt some of these second sections were still pretty pricey. There's a lot of miles involved and it was rare for Greyhound to have a backhaul for the driver. Thus, all the revenue (from tickets) had to come from a one-way trip.

It's one thing if they open up additional sections, sell them out, and then ending up having to use a rental to cover the trip because of driver/equipment availability.

It's another thing to open up the extra sections, book the rentals, and then be substantially overcapacity, with coaches rolling out with 20 passengers on board.

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But only express trips have guaranteed seating right? Just because you have a ticket on a regular trip doesn't mean you have a seat.

But greyhound knows how many tickets they have sold for each run, so they should know if they need to add a second bus.

Often what happens is they load up the first bus and then wait and see if they dispatch another bus. Often the bus is full leaving Toronto what happens to the customers on the route to the destination?

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It is the same on all schedules now. If you have a ticket for that schedule, you have a seat on that schedule. The driver can pick up a manifest at major terminals and get an idea of what seat availability they have for their trip. The computer is programmed to not allow any bus to sell more than 50 seats. If te computer says that there are 100 seats available, then they have planned to have a second section on that trip.

I have had passengers walk up to me with a ticket for a later schedule hoping to get on my earlier schedule. If I know I have space, I'll take them. But if I know I'm sold out down the line, then I appologize to them and tell them that unfortunately I have to hold them to that schedule.

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Greyhound operates their own Equipmant which is full size buses on Every route. In terms of being regulated....this is only so In B.C.,TCH and Yellowhead Highway in Saskatchewan, and I think somewhat in Ontario. Alberta,Yukon,NWT are Not regulated. Like for example in BC...their business is about as shrinkable as they could make it...GCTC is bound by the BC passenger transportation board on their minimum frequencies...They have a tiny bit of wiggle room...but Not a lot. And whatever they do they would need to apply to do it...as right now 95% of the routes are run on minimum frequency.And with what GCTC has now In BC it would not be easy to reduce a lot more. IN Alberta it is Not Regulated at all...The service they operate is the service they are making $$ on...Bottom Line. They just did a bunch of run reductions in Feb..out of mostly Edmonton and to a lesser extent out of Calgary. However that being Said currently the New NDP govt is in the early stages of rolling out a transportation plan to connect smaller communities which have no service...and they are willng to put 8 million dollars up to do that. I know GCTC was interviewed when the NDP made the announcement...and was interested in the idea. AS many of u know when Alberta de regulated in 2011 GCTC said they were loosing 7.5 million, THis New Transportation plan could be a game changer for ALberta! Manitoba saw one THompson run dropped and service reductions up north too. I know several runs out of Vancouver do run 2 sections in the summer and some long weekends/HOlidays Espectially on Vancouver to Kelowna and some Calgary trips .


In terms of Charters...sure GCTC don't have DVD players...but their is a market for non dvd equipped coaches...like ski trips,short school trips,concerts,group transfers,etc...However Greyhound does Have Wifi and plug ins...Not a lot of Charter companies have either...also Greyhound can operate Charters from anyplace ...so location is not an issue and in some smaller places Greyhound could have better coaches than say a 2-3 bus independent company. So their sure is a market for Greyhound to do a ton of charters....and with the Excess Equipment they Now Have do to the run reductions in Edmonton especially and excess manpower...the market is ripe for Greyhound to get more back into Charters. I know they have started doing a few out of Edmonton lately...and Vancouver I c their doin some too.

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It is the same on all schedules now. If you have a ticket for that schedule, you have a seat on that schedule. The driver can pick up a manifest at major terminals and get an idea of what seat availability they have for their trip. The computer is programmed to not allow any bus to sell more than 50 seats. If te computer says that there are 100 seats available, then they have planned to have a second section on that trip.

I have had passengers walk up to me with a ticket for a later schedule hoping to get on my earlier schedule. If I know I have space, I'll take them. But if I know I'm sold out down the line, then I appologize to them and tell them that unfortunately I have to hold them to that schedule.

Thanks for the update on the current policy, airwolf. This firm capacity management is something that didn't exist before. Greyhound used to sell tickets, and then either send a second section with a small load (hoping to pick up more walk-up pax as the driver "worked the road") or leave passengers behind. It could be a real scrum in a terminal for a busy section to lineup at the gate to make sure you got on board as your seat wasn't guaranteed. The best way to go broke in the bus business is to operate a service, any service in the red, because the ones in the black don't have enough margin to make up for the ones in the red.

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Greyhound operates their own Equipmant which is full size buses on Every route. In terms of being regulated....this is only so In B.C.,TCH and Yellowhead Highway in Saskatchewan, and I think somewhat in Ontario. Alberta,Yukon,NWT are Not regulated. Like for example in BC...their business is about as shrinkable as they could make it...GCTC is bound by the BC passenger transportation board on their minimum frequencies...They have a tiny bit of wiggle room...but Not a lot. And whatever they do they would need to apply to do it...as right now 95% of the routes are run on minimum frequency.And with what GCTC has now In BC it would not be easy to reduce a lot more. IN Alberta it is Not Regulated at all...The service they operate is the service they are making $$ on...Bottom Line. They just did a bunch of run reductions in Feb..out of mostly Edmonton and to a lesser extent out of Calgary. However that being Said currently the New NDP govt is in the early stages of rolling out a transportation plan to connect smaller communities which have no service...and they are willng to put 8 million dollars up to do that. I know GCTC was interviewed when the NDP made the announcement...and was interested in the idea. AS many of u know when Alberta de regulated in 2011 GCTC said they were loosing 7.5 million, THis New Transportation plan could be a game changer for ALberta! Manitoba saw one THompson run dropped and service reductions up north too. I know several runs out of Vancouver do run 2 sections in the summer and some long weekends/HOlidays Espectially on Vancouver to Kelowna and some Calgary trips .

Sorry, I haven't been keeping track of intercity highway coach regulations on a province by province basis. I knew about Alberta's loosening of regulations, but had forgotten about it.

I would not be so quick to assume that everything in Alberta that is running is making money. There are network design considerations that drive the decision to continue to operate money losing services as part of a large nationwide network. Some times you need the incremental passengers on a certain in the red segment that will continue on a trunk route, and provides enough volume to operate that route profitably.

Also, keep in mind, that even if all the operations in, say, Alberta, were profitable, the drag on the entire corporation by a single unprofitable province (say, British Columbia?) could overwhelm Alberta's margin. If BC can't cover its own fixed costs with its revenue, who do you think is covering it?

I didn't say that second sections don't happen. What I did point out is that under the new capacity controlled model, second sections are much less likely to happen. You'll hear the phrase "the bus is sold out" at the ticket counter more often than in the past. Greyhound used to keep selling tickets, then decide to add second sections on an adhoc basis. It was also common to "oversell" routes, and have to bump passengers to the next section. This doesn't happen any more. If they project a run to have a big load, they will add the second section into the computer, in advance, so those seats can be sold through a variety of channels. The old days of scrambling for drivers and equipment when passengers randomly show up is gone.

Heck, I remember traveling on an Ameripass about a decade ago. All I had to do was walk up, get in line, and show the driver my pass. He'd have to let me on, even if the coach was considered maxed out on ticket sales. Someone would be left behind. These days are gone.

In terms of Charters...sure GCTC don't have DVD players...but their is a market for non dvd equipped coaches...like ski trips,short school trips,concerts,group transfers,etc...However Greyhound does Have Wifi and plug ins...Not a lot of Charter companies have either...also Greyhound can operate Charters from anyplace ...so location is not an issue and in some smaller places Greyhound could have better coaches than say a 2-3 bus independent company. So their sure is a market for Greyhound to do a ton of charters....and with the Excess Equipment they Now Have do to the run reductions in Edmonton especially and excess manpower...the market is ripe for Greyhound to get more back into Charters. I know they have started doing a few out of Edmonton lately...and Vancouver I c their doin some too.

The market for non-video coaches is very small, and shrinking. Of the examples you listed above ski trips and school trips are the most sensitive to video equipment of all the groups. They will generally not accept a coach without this equipment under any circumstance. In fact, in my charter driving career, the only time I ever actually used the video equipment was on ski trip and school trips.

For other groups, except for very short transfers (cruise ships come to mind, and even then, there are lines that video equipment is required), having DVD equipment is a mark of the quality of the bus and operation. If you tell them during booking that they are getting a bus without that equipment, they will often walk away. I've seen it happen ... I remember one winter when nearly all of our video equipment was moved out of market and replaced with older, non-video buses. Clients left in droves that winter. Non-video equipment on charters, in this day and age, is a non-starter.

Yes, Greyhound can start a charter from "anywhere." But so can any other bus company ... I'm assuming you meant that Greyhound can start a charter from "anywhere they have a driver base." This is a slight competitive advantage, but not much. Why? Generally, if there is a driver base, its a big enough place to support a couple of legit charter operations (who have experience in the core competencies of a charter operations I listed above). For starting a trip anywhere else ... well, Greyhound is going to charge a deadhead rate to position the bus, just like anyone else. The actual competitive advantage they have (and this comes from chartering a bus for a school group myself close to fifteen years ago, who knows if they still price this way) is if you need a one way trip (or a round trip with a large gap in service) between two cities that are driver bases. They would only charge the one way rate, and not the deadhead back home.

However, like I mentioned, this is a small advantage. There are very few groups that need a one way drop off, and no service for the duration of their trip. Very few. Most want the bus to go to dinner, events, etc, so this market is minimal.

As for utilizing excess equipment. You state that Greyhound has lots of excess equipment due to February's cutbacks. Fine. It is not anywhere to the point of the equipment levels they had a decade ago, with buses stashed in all kinds of odd places, all over the country, in case of a mechanical failure. If someone calls them up and needs a bus and they have one, I'm sure they'd be happy to take the money. But to have enough buses to make a real go of a charter operation would require a totally different philosophy re: fleet allocation and utilization. I just don't see that happening, given the strides First Group has taken to lean the operation.

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Yes, Greyhound can start a charter from "anywhere." But so can any other bus company ... I'm assuming you meant that Greyhound can start a charter from "anywhere they have a driver base."

I don't know about other provinces but in Ontario , Only select companies can operate Charters from specific cities , I tried to Charter a bus a few years back, and asked companies in Montreal , and Kingston which are not far away from Ottawa , and was told by the companies that they don't have permits to do Charter Pick ups in Ottawa. Ontario is very strictly governed when it comes to Bus transportation, The only 2 companies that I can think of that can do pick ups all across Ontario would be Greyhound and StageCoach ( Coach Canada/MegaBus ).

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I don't know about other provinces but in Ontario , Only select companies can operate Charters from specific cities , I tried to Charter a bus a few years back, and asked companies in Montreal , and Kingston which are not far away from Ottawa , and was told by the companies that they don't have permits to do Charter Pick ups in Ottawa. Ontario is very strictly governed when it comes to Bus transportation, The only 2 companies that I can think of that can do pick ups all across Ontario would be Greyhound and StageCoach ( Coach Canada/MegaBus ).

These are the list of operators that can do pick up and drop offs in the City of Ottawa. There are some Quebec operators that can do pick ups/drop offs such as Preference, Skyport, Galland, Swiftrans (and probably the parent Company La Quebecoise) and Transport Thom.

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These are the list of operators that can do pick up and drop offs in the City of Ottawa. There are some Quebec operators that can do pick ups/drop offs such as Preference, Skyport, Galland, Swiftrans (and probably the parent Company La Quebecoise) and Transport Thom.

yes I am aware of that , I ended up using Autocar Preferance ,

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I would think now days...Wifi and plug ins are more important than having a Video Equipped coach...! Video stores are obsolete...everyone streams everything...internet is an amazing tool...u can even watch a tv show while on ur comfy trip on a charter coach and not share it with your friends.

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These are the list of operators that can do pick up and drop offs in the City of Ottawa. There are some Quebec operators that can do pick ups/drop offs such as Preference, Skyport, Galland, Swiftrans (and probably the parent Company La Quebecoise) and Transport Thom.

This is interesting information. Typically, charter carriers (and charter service) are no longer regulated in this way (what is the advantage to doing so?) in both the US and Canada. However, how does this hurt a company. The only time you should be looking outside the local market for a charter carrier is when you are doing a one-way point-to-point charter. Deadhead costs quickly add up, and so any company that is not listed probably doesn't bother with the paperwork because there is such a slim chance they would ever do that kind of work.

I would think now days...Wifi and plug ins are more important than having a Video Equipped coach...! Video stores are obsolete...everyone streams everything...internet is an amazing tool...u can even watch a tv show while on ur comfy trip on a charter coach and not share it with your friends.

Wifi is very expensive for the carrier to provide. The data usage on a coach equipped with wifi can be huge. Because the bus carries individual clients each day it operates, these clients will use the data without regard to past usage (you can't ration it). A better model is what the airlines have done, where you have to pay for access on a per device basis. Otherwise, the carrier has a hard time recouping data costs as part of the charter rates.

Additionally, those ski charters, above, one the largest users of the video system .... well, no cell service in the mountains, means no wifi, and thus no streaming videos. Other over the road trips can pass through very rural areas with fast cell data service is spotty or non-existent (I just drove through a huge section of West Texas in my car where Verizon did not even have their own towers - no data service available, voice only on some other network).

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This is interesting information. Typically, charter carriers (and charter service) are no longer regulated in this way (what is the advantage to doing so?) in both the US and Canada. However, how does this hurt a company. The only time you should be looking outside the local market for a charter carrier is when you are doing a one-way point-to-point charter. Deadhead costs quickly add up, and so any company that is not listed probably doesn't bother with the paperwork because there is such a slim chance they would ever do that kind of work.

They are still regulated that way. When a Operator applies for a permit, they have to demonstrate public need of their service and specify their operating jurisdiction(s). You can't just buy a bus and begin picking up people for compensation hence the Charter Bus and Intercity bus is still regulated both in Canada and USA.

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They are still regulated that way. When a Operator applies for a permit, they have to demonstrate public need of their service and specify their operating jurisdiction(s). You can't just buy a bus and begin picking up people for compensation hence the Charter Bus and Intercity bus is still regulated both in Canada and USA.

You misunderstand me. I never suggested you could just "buy a bus and begin picking up people for compensation."

Obviously, in the US and Canada, there are a myriad of regulations which must be met before a company can begin to operate. What makes Canada so befuddling (not just to the fans on this board who are getting the wires crossed but also for those of that have been in management positions at companies with operations in Canada) is in the absence of a strong federal, nationwide regulating authority (like the USDOT), each province has its own set of rules and regulations that must be followed. These rules and regs are often poorly aligned with each other, creating a lot of issues for carriers.

I once sat in a BC Trucking Association meeting discussing BC adopting the NSC scheduled maintenance intervals. Some guys in the room were ready to rumble with the regulators for not fully aligning with what Alberta was doing. It was pretty interesting for me to watch and listen to.

In the US, there are the USDOT rules, which must be met by all carriers, as well as local regulations, typically administered by what the USDOT refers to as their "State and Local Partners." In Washington State, the state laws are really just a formality. Send in the paperwork, and if its complete, they'll sign off. California's CPUC is somewhat more involved. For out of state carriers, typically the state authority is only regulating intrastate trips, as the USDOT regulates interstate trips. Thus, I could deadhead a coach to California to do a ten-day pacific coast trip without requiring authority by the CPUC. I could not, however, deadhead a coach to California to operate a convention shuttle in San Francisco for a week without CPUC authority.

That being said, I cannot think of a single regulatory agency in the US (mind you, I'm West Coast focused in my knowledge) that requires you to "demonstrate public need" of a charter bus service. Charters are ad hoc trips booked by customers who need large vehicle transportation. Indeed, having to demonstrate said need is regulatory protectionism towards existing carriers to keep new entrants out of the market. It really is not necessary in this business, as the capital cost of starting a new operation makes it prohibitive for most to go out and "buy a bus and begin picking people up for compensation." For the one bus, mom and pop operators, regulators need to be concerned with their compliance to appropriate regulations while they are operating, not whether or not there is a public need for them to enter the market.

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The BC charter regulations have been really simplified since about 2004? I think you just need a NSC number now but I haven't really looked at the regulations in awhile. I actually think the industry here needs more regulations too many bottom feeders in the industry.

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The BC charter regulations have been really simplified since about 2004? I think you just need a NSC number now but I haven't really looked at the regulations in awhile. I actually think the industry here needs more regulations too many bottom feeders in the industry.

I've only ever done renewals with BC. They want proof of registration, proof of insurance, and proof of a preventative maintenance program. If you provide that, its a rubber stamp.

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The BC charter regulations have been really simplified since about 2004? I think you just need a NSC number now but I haven't really looked at the regulations in awhile. I actually think the industry here needs more regulations too many bottom feeders in the industry.

agreed that there needs to be more regulations. Seems as if BC will give anyone a license in my opinion...

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I've been traveling on Greyhound for almost a year now and a thought struck me the other day when i was coming back to Toronto from Rochester, New York.

It seems that the new Prevost buses aquired by GH Canada aren't actually new.

The new X3-45's are always on the New York City-Toronto and London-Detroit-Chicago routes but never on any local routes in the GTA. They do however operate x3-45's with fleet number 88xx but a driver told me they were from 2008 and were transferred to GH Canada in 2014.

He told me when they came to Canada they were plagued with problems. Transmissions were falling out of them, body damage, ripped seats, power outlets not working and missing buttons and such in the drivers area.

My question is, if Greyhound is advertising the purchase of new buses (86xxx), why is the Canadian side getting the shitty end of the stick? The bus I was on was really nice, the seats had seat belts, the outlets were REAL power outlets, and the drive was smooth.

All the older MCI buses from the US is being sent to Canada for a 2nd life but why be greedy with the new fleet if they're practically the same company?

Speaking the x3-45'S those buses in particular is possibly heading out west now since most of them are being retrofitted with trailer hitches.

The MCI 102-D3's are also being pulled out of service. 3404, 3417 and 3418 is sitting in the bone yard at the Toronto Garage, who knows... Maybe we are getting new buses, we have until 2017 to drive the refurbished DL3's.

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What we need is for Transport Canada/Fed Government pas a law stating Inter-City Transportation companies ned all there buses too be Whelhair/Mobility accessibl on all runs on aqll routes like the US.

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