Premier Darrell Dexter said Thursday the Nova Scotia government is willing to relax the rules on intercity bus travel to ensure the service survives.  

Thursday was the deadline for bus companies to come forward if they're interested in taking over routes Acadian Bus lines wants to abandon.  

The interprovincial line wants out of the Maritimes, in part, because it claims regulations made business unprofitable.    

"We're going to work with whichever companies come forward to try and make sure that there's a successful service for Nova Scotians and for that matter for New Brunswickers," said Dexter.   

He says one way to do that might be allowing companies freedom to set schedules, pick routes and design stops without a regulator overseeing the process.   

"Whether or not that's a complete ability of the bus companies to be able to do that or whether or not we work with them to decide what the smoothest way to that is really the question."  

Dexter says there's no question what's needed is a system that continues to serve remote rural communities.  

"What we want is a comprehensive service for the region and as I say routing is an important part of that, ensuring that there's service throughout the province," he said.  

There's no timeline for changing bus regulations but Dexter said he's ready to work with New Brunswick's David Alward to make it happen as soon as possible.

Mike Cassidy, owner of P.E.I.’s Trius Tours, is hoping to offer a new Maritime service. He says he wants to work with Via Rail to create an integrated transit system for the area.

He said co-operation between different companies and modes of transportation will provide a better service to customers.

Marc Laliberté, president of Via Rail, said he is looking for partners to develop a complete transit system in the Maritimes.