Maritime bus operator relieved discounts capped for tickets

A new Maritime bus company will not be allowed to discount its P.E.I. to Halifax route tickets by more than 25 per cent most days of the year, a local board has ruled.
David Anderson says the current Acadian Coach Lines lockout has shown the “inconvenience” of relying on only one company to operate a bus service between N.B. and P.E.I.

A rule limiting the discount a new regional bus operator can offer passengers shuttling between P.E.I. and Nova Scotia is "as fair as it can be," the owner of an established bus company says.

Tri-Maritime Bus Network, which is poised to start operating in the Maritimes on Dec. 1, had asked the Nova Scotia regulatory board to offer up to 50 per cent off ticket prices. Under the new rules, the bus company will only be allowed to discount the route tickets by 25 per cent for all but 10 days of the year.

The Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board — a quasi-judicial body that is responsible for regulating provincial and interprovincial public passenger carriers — released its decision Thursday.

David Anderson owns Advanced Shuttle, which operates between P.E.I. and Nova Scotia.

"Yes, I’d love to see, you know, the prices stay exactly the same for all of us. But competition is reality and discounting is reality."

"I believe it’s as fair as it can be," he said.

Anderson said that despite any discounts, bus passengers with rival Tri-Maritime Bus Network will have to pay an additional fuel surcharge and $2 bridge toll. Advanced Shuttle passengers do not pay these fees, he said.

The new Maritime bus company will start its service across the three provinces on Dec. 1.

The changes come as Acadian Coach Lines plans to shut down its Maritime operations by the end of November. The intercity bus operator said it couldn't make profit in the region.