Hampton may pull out of commuter bus service to Saint John

Some suburban Saint John communities are exploring the possibility of pulling out of the Comex commuter bus service.

About 300 people from Kennebecasis Valley and Grand Bay-Westfield use service daily

Some suburban Saint John communities are exploring the possibility of pulling out of the Comex commuter bus service.

The Comex service connects Saint John with suburban communities, Grand Bay-Westfield, Rothesay, Quispamsis and Hampton.

The general manager of Saint John Transit told city council this week that Hampton may pull out of the Comex commuter service. (CBC)
Frank McCarey, the general manager of Saint John Transit, told city council this week there is a possibility Hampton may opt out.

"There's certainly concern in Hampton about the rising costs of the service. I'm not sure that they will.... they'll have to decide whether they want to pay it or not."

Currently, Quispamsis pays $160,000 annually for the service, Rothesay pays $80,000 and Hampton pays $60,000. It is not known how much it will cost for communities to renew their agreement with the bus service.

The service to all communities carries about 300 passengers each day.

One of those passengers is Howard Labillois.

Labillois said the Comex service is one of the reasons he and his wife chose to make Hampton their new home.

He said he would not like to see the service cancelled.

“It would be a horrible step backwards,” he said.

Labillois said he would even like to see the service expanded with the addition of a mid-day run.

It isn’t only Hampton that is looking at reconsidering its partnership with the commuter bus service.

Grand Bay Westfield is also looking hard at the service.

Mayor Grace Losier said not many people are using the Comex service the way it is now set up.

Grand Bay-Westfield Mayor Grace Losier said her town is looking at whether it will continue with the bus service. (Town of Grand Bay-Westfield)
She said her town has not made a final decision on whether to keep the commuter bus.

Rothesay Mayor Bill Bishop said his town will probably continue to support the bus service, although he too is concerned about low ridership.

Meanwhile, Quispamsis is one town that does not have any intention of terminating its commuter service.

Quispamsis Mayor Murray Driscoll wants the Comex to stay and he said it has taken too long to get bus service to the town.

"If we let this system go we'll probably never ever get another one,” he said.

"We need to increase the ridership on it and people need to get behind and support it because once it is gone I suspect it would not get put back in place."

The bus service started in 2007. A one-way fare is $3.50 and a monthly pass costs $109.

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