Richmond County Council has expressed surprise that the local bus service, Strait Area Transit Cooperative, has stopped operating.

Buses were taken off the roads late Monday afternoon with no explanation.

Chris Cook, the chair of the Strait Area Transit Cooperative, said the decision was made because of financial problems.

"it was a very grim situation on the balance sheet," he said.

Cook said, the board took a hard look at the numbers and decided not to incur any more expenses.

In the past year, municipal partners and the province provided extra funding to the transit service.

Cook said, it was not enough.

"Emergency funds that have been made available in the past were just that, and addressed shortfalls that we found at the time. We need to have the discussion with all levels of government to find a sustainable solution to a very valuable service for the people," he said.

A few months ago, municipal partners doubled their contributions to the transit coop — that increase was to cover growing fuel costs and the end of provincial wage subsidies

Service Nova Scotia said in addition to its $120,000 contribution last year, it provided extra money to ensure the service would continue.

Richmond County Warden Steve Samson said the municipalities will meet with the transit system partners in the next this week to discuss the situation.

No one from Strait Area Transit has been available to explain the decision to shut down.