BCB Weekly Roundup: Greyhound’s anatomy

The latest in what's happening around the B.C. business community

The latest in what’s happening around the B.C. business community

Each week, BCBusiness gives you an update on some of the stories turning heads across the province.

Like the many people no longer being served by Greyhound buses, here’s what we couldn’t ignore this week.

Grey areas

Earlier this week, Greyhound Canada, a subsidiary of British transport company FirstGroup, announced it would be stopping service in Western Canada effective October 31.

For the many people that relied on the company’s buses—particularly those in rural, underserved areas—the prospect of no Greyhound is much scarier than Halloween.

For its part, the company said that ridership in B.C. had declined 46 percent since 2010 while it was incurring losses of $35,000 a day on its passenger service.

The question is, What now? Will another company step up and try and aid a market that is in desperate need? It’s already happening in places like Vancouver Island, where Tofino Bus replaced Greyhound on routes from Campbell River to Courtenay and from Victoria to Duncan.

It remains to be seen whether other areas will experience similar influxes of entrepreneurs ready to take commuters to their underserved destinations.

One thing that has become clear in the aftermath of Greyhound’s decision is that it will not be regarded as simply a business play. No, it’s already fraught with political implications, as both Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan are taking heat from opposition parties.

Others, meanwhile, are using the decision as another means to pressure the provincial government into bringing Uber and other ride-sharing companies to B.C.

Recycled air

Squamish-based Carbon Engineering Ltd. announced that it raised CAD$11million in its recently closed convertible loan bridge financing round. 

The clean energy company, which is commercializing clean fuel from air, is expected to conclude equity financing shortly.

“We’ve seen a very high level of interest and have had to ask many interested investors to wait for future investment rounds,” said Steve Oldham, CEO of Carbon Engineering, in a release.

“The response we’ve seen signals a big step forward not only for CE, but for the wider carbon capture and advanced fuels industry, as the scope and size of the business opportunity these technologies offer becomes clear.”

The company projects to be the first in the world to commercially sell transportation fuels synthesized from air and clean electricity.

Credit: Gryphon Development on Twitter

An art display at Gryphon Museé

Decorative Dunbar

When one thinks of trendy, art–infused neighbourhoods in Vancouver, Dunbar is likely near the bottom of the list.

The southern, leafy area is more associated with families and ludicrous housing prices than being any sort of cultural hub. Sure, it can lay claim to one of the last remaining independent movie theatres in the city, and Jethro’s Fine Grub is a Guy Fieri-approved gastronomic delight, but it’s not exactly Manhattan. Or even Cambie Street.

So it is that the arrival of Gryphon Musée turned some heads in the ‘hood.

Yesterday, Gryphon Development opened the doors to the Museé, a gallery space designed to provide local artists with a platform to showcase their work.

The space has hosted three different exhibits in the past year, but is now open to the public Monday to Friday between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and is free to visit. It also offers local artists a space free of charge.

A good exchange

Finally, Vancouver-based Central 1 Credit Union announced a partnership with Agility Forex, a fintech company also based in B.C.’s biggest city.

The deal will allow Central 1, a cooperative federation for credit unions in B.C. and Ontario, to offer a low-cost foreign exchange service to Canadian credit unions and their members.

Using Agility Forex’s proprietary software—which offers the “best currency exchange rates in Canada”—Central 1 will be able to move money across the border with low or zero cost, providing an advantage to Canadian credit unions and their customers. 

“The Canadian foreign exchange transaction market is ripe for disruptive change, and we believe this partnership will take advantage of that opportunity,” said Central 1 president and CEO Mark Blucher in a release.

We’ve heard a lot about the disruption of traditional financial institutions. Could this be an important step in the downfall of banks as we’ve come to understand them?