Just a day after Greyhound announced it was permanently putting the brakes on its remaining Canadian operations, another bus service is gearing up to offer connections from Ottawa to several other Ontario cities.
Megabus said Friday it will start providing service next week from a new stop at the St. Laurent transit station to Toronto, Scarborough and Kingston. The firm will run double-decker buses from Thursday through Sunday beginning on May 20, and tickets will be free for the first week of service.
Megabus is operated by Coach Canada, which provides service between various cities in Ontario and Quebec. Coach Canada’s parent company, Coach USA, launched the brand in the U.S. in 2006, and it expanded to Canada two years later.
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The newcomer to the Ottawa market will help fill the void left by Greyhound’s sudden departure. The motor coach company’s remaining routes in Ontario and Quebec – which included connections from Ottawa to Toronto, Montreal, Kingston and Sudbury – ceased permanently on Thursday.
The decision came a year after Greyhound Canada temporarily suspended all service due to a sharp decline in passengers and mounting travel restrictions amid the first wave of COVID-19. The bus carrier had struggled for years with declining ridership, increasing competition and deregulation and suspended all operations in Western Canada in 2018.
In Ottawa, Greyhound announced last October that it planned to vacate the Catherine Street terminal from which it had operated out of the site since 1994.
Gatineau-based developer Brigil said earlier this year that it planned to purchase the property from the Crerar Group of Companies and construct multiple highrises that would include more than 1,000 residential units as well as office and retail space.