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Greyhound axes routes through Stratford, St. Marys

Tori SuttonStaff Reporter

Come July, travellers will have one less option when it comes to getting to and from the Festival City.

Recently, Greyhound announced the cancellation of a number of routes in Ontario, including the Kitchener to London route, which has stops in Stratford and St. Marys.

Other discontinued routes include Toronto to Owen Sound and Chatham to Windsor runs. Services will be officially discontinued on July 3.

The news comes just over a year after the bus service cut the number of trips on the Kitchener to London route to one a day. At that time, Greyhound said the service reduction was necessary to relieve financial pressure.

Last week, Greyhound spokesperson Bonnie Bastian said the route was under-utilized, which lead to the decision to axe it.

"The routes just don't have a lot of passengers on them so it doesn't make good financial sense for us to continue them," Bastian told the Gazette.

Stratford Greyhound agent Jeff Pogson, who operated the local depot from the location of his other business, Global Solutions, was surprised to find out bus service had been completely discontinued.

"I was a bit surprised to see it leave Stratford completely," he said, in an interview earlier this week. "I thought they would try to keep it going in some way, especially with the university coming."

He found out about the change about three weeks ago after receiving a blank schedule from Greyhound.

Pogson, who has been the local  Greyhound agent since November 2008, said the route shut down won't have a huge effect on his bottom line – he considered his involvement with Greyhound to be a "community service" – but said it is inconvenient for passengers.

"I've heard from a few passengers and they're not too thrilled," he said. "It's tough for people to get in and out of Stratford. There's not a lot of public transportation."

People have also been asking what will happen with the Greyhound parcel service, which Pogson was also offering.

He said he is in the process of finalizing an agreement with Canpar to begin offering the small courier's services.

Pogson has been approved as a counter agent and expects to begin offering the service out of his Norfolk Street location in July, at the same time Greyhound will be discontinuing its service.

Greyhound officials said London-based About Town Transportation has agreed to take over the cancelled routes and is already offering services in conjunction with Greyhound. Messages left at About Town were not answered by press time.

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