Greyhound bus depots are shutting their doors with Wednesday marking the end of most routes across western Canada and northern Ontario.

The company announced this summer it would be cutting the routes because of a decline in ridership and increased competition. 

Ivan Cook rolled into Winnipeg Wednesday morning from Thompson, on the last bus to arrive at the Greyhound depot. 

Cook told CTV News he was worried about how the cancellation would affect Indigenous communities where the bus was the main mode of transportation for people heading to medical appointments in larger centres. 

Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Arlen Dumas reiterated that concern, saying the ramifications would be “detrimental” in remote communities. 

“Medical appointments are quite extensive and take a lot of time, and having this kind of disruption is going to be detrimental to people’s health and the kind of care they get,” said Dumas. 

Dumas commended five companies stepping up to take over one or more existing Greyhound bus routes in Manitoba. According to the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, those companies are Maple Bus lines, Thompson Bus, Kelsey Bus Lines, Saunders Enterprise and Rider Express. 

The cancellation of service also affects a number of employees, including Dale Patkau who has been driving with the company for 30 years. 

Patkau followed in his father’s footsteps, who started driving for Greyhound in 1967.

Calling it a sad day, Patkau said many people around Manitoba rely on the service. Ahead of his final day driving a bus full of passengers, Patkau wrote a song with a passenger turned friend to commemorate his last trip. 

Patkau said another driver helped to take photos and videos, the whole thing pieced together in a music video on Patkau’s Youtube channel called ‘Last Ride’.

“It’s a staple on the highway: even if you’re on your car or your truck, or whatever it is you’re driving you always passed a Greyhound bus. And now that bus isn’t going to be there anymore,” said Patkau. 

From driving politicians to professional hockey players, Patkau said he’s grateful for the people he’s met along the way. He now plans to work for Maple Bus lines. 

A professor in supply chain management at the Asper School of Business, Adolf Ng, said while there are more options for connections between major centres across Canada with low cost airlines, small rural communities still rely on bus service and cars. 

He said people living in rural communities who rely on buses to get into bigger centres could feel as though they become immobilized, both economically and socially and went on to say that it could result in a bigger divide between rural communities and larger centres. 

On Wednesday, the federal government announced it would assist provinces and territories in subsidizing bus service where other companies have not taken over. The Trudeau government also said it would subsidize bus service to remote Indigenous communities where needed.