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Acadian Coach Lines in New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Acadian Intercity Coaches in Nova Scotia are closing their Maritime operations by the end of this year. (CBC)

An economic development expert says the end of the Acadian Lines bus service is bad for the province, as a whole, and rural New Brunswick in particular.

Acadian Coach Lines in New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Acadian Intercity Coaches in Nova Scotia are closing their Maritime operations by the end of this year.

Many communities in northern New Brunswick are concerned about the impact the closure of Acadian Lines will have on their struggling economies.

Economic Development consultant David Campbell says cutting links between the cities and the rural areas will further isolate the north and hurt the province as a whole.  

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Moncton economist David Campbell says cutting links between the cities and the rural areas will further isolate the north and hurt the province as a whole. ((Courtesy of Jupia Consultants Inc.))

"In the short–term, it's people that have come to rely on the service like students and seniors, but I think in the longer term it's actually the communities that suffer," Campbell said.  

"If you don't have proper transportation linkages, in the longer term it leads to less investment and less economic development."  

Campbell says communities are either moving forward or backwards, and in this case it's clear New Brunswick is going backwards.  

"You're going to have to own a car to live and work and operate in New Brunswick and I think that is a problem," he said.

Bathurst mayor Stephen Brunett says his region can't afford to lose its links to the cities in the south.  

"I would think it would be the responsibility of the provincial government to make sure there is a link to southern New Brunswick and the bus was pretty well the only one for quite some time," Brunett said.  

Campbell says New Brunswick's government is already spending hundreds of millions of dollars on transportation infrastructure, mostly on highway construction and maintenance.  

He argues if the province wants a dynamic economy, it will need to look at other options.  

"In large urban centres, now, in these mega–urban regions — we're talking about high-speed rail between cities, we're looking at other public infrastructure and then in places like the Maritimes we're actually moving away from that," Campbell said.