The New Brunswick government will look at changing regulations governing intercity bus regulations in light of Acadian Lines’ plans to cease operations in the Maritimes, says the transportation minister.
Acadian officials announced Tuesday the company will no longer operate in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. by Nov. 30, saying government rules make it difficult to turn a profit.
"Maybe it's something that should have been looked at in the past and appropriate changes made. And maybe the company still would have been in business," said Transportation Minister Claude Williams.
"I can't speak for the past. But certainly we can look forward to the future and see what can be done in order to alleviate the process to run a business and for it to be feasible."
The provincial government has no plans to set up a publicly-funded bus system or to provide companies with subsidies, Williams said, but regulations could be changed to encourage a sustainable bus system and to allow for fair competition in the private sector.
Under the Motor Carrier Act, which regulates buses, Acadian currently has exclusive rights to the routes it operates.
Shuttle service plans
David Anderson, who runs Advanced Shuttle Services out of Summerside, P.E.I., is waiting to hear back about his expansion plans.
Anderson wants to make stops in Port Elgin, Aulac and Sackville, but is waiting until the Energy Utilities Board gives him the go ahead.
Anderson originally applied to supply service to Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton, but says it doesn’t make financial sense under the current regulations.
"What's in place right now is scheduled. We would be required to stop at every location we wanted to pick somebody up at. Say we wanted to stop at Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, we would have to stop every time," he said.
It's a waste of time and money to do all that driving with no one in the shuttle, Anderson said.
Acadian — the only intercity coach line in the Maritimes — says it has lost $12 million since 2004.
Acadian had asked to make changes to its routes to make the company more profitable, but those requests were denied, officials said.
The shutdown will affect about 65 workers in New Brunswick.