Nova Scotia's Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal is investigating a complaint about a driver with the new Maritime Bus service after a passenger complained he felt unsafe during a recent trip.
Will Guthro, who used Maritime Bus on its first day in service, complained to the department's motor carrier division after a ride that he characterized as less comfortable than a "very old pothole-riddled coastal highway in Ghana, West Africa."
Guthro also said the driver told him he was not allowed to drive the larger coach buses because he ran a red light during an internal company evaluation.
"It really concerns me that a driver who was that negligent was allowed to be operating that particular vehicle," Guthro told CBC News.
He then filed a complaint to the motor carrier division with the Department of Transportation.
The division confirmed the driver and the vehicle in question are being reviewed.
Mike Cassidy, the president of Maritime Bus, said he welcomes the investigation and is sending the driver's licence and record to the department.
He acknowledged the driver ran a red light during his internal evaluation but said he's confident in both the company's safety tests and the driver.
"It has embarrassed him and it's embarrassed our company but as far as the safety goes the driver is more than capable of helming any vehicle, I'm sure," said Cassidy.
"He failed on a particular day, in a particular coach and the rules are, you do not drive until you get re-evaluated."
Cassidy said the driver will be tested on a larger coach bus again later this month.
Guthro — who travelled from Halifax to Kentville on Maritime Bus — said he was shocked the driver wasn't barred from operating all Maritime Bus vehicles.
"Just because they have a monopoly on this service in the region doesn't mean they can provide an inferior service to their customers," he said.
"I really feel like that's what happened. It was on a safety level, not just a customer service and comfort level, those are secondary. My primary concern here was safety."
Starting at the crack of dawn on Dec. 1, the Charlottetown-based company's coaches began operating on routes in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I.
The intercity transit service is taking the place of Acadian Lines, which permanently parked its fleet and closed its Maritime operations because it couldn't make a profit in the region.