New Brunswick

Charlotte County bus service to Saint John underway

The Rural Lynx bus service from Saint Andrews, N.B., to Saint John has begun, allowing residents better access to services in the city, 100 kilometers away.

Twice-daily, round-trip service to Saint John finally available for residents in southwest N.B.

Stan Choptiany, president of the Southwest New Brunswick Transit Authority and former mayor of Saint Andrews, speaking at the province's $500,000 funding announcement for Rural Lynx in July, 2017. (Ben Silcox/CBC)

The Rural Lynx bus service from Charlotte County to Saint John has begun, allowing residents in southwest, N.B. better access to services in the city, 100 kilometers away.

In the last five years, residents of Saint Andrews have had a greater need to get to Saint John as more public services centralize in the city, according to Stan Choptiany, former mayor of Saint Andrews and president of Southwest New Brunswick Transport Authority Inc.

"More of the hospital procedures, the specialists, the courts, numbers of others appointments now exist in Saint John and we need a way to get there," Choptiany said. 

"As we identified that need, we realized that transportation by bus was the solution."

Acadian Lines dropped the last public service from Saint Stephen to Saint John in 2011.

In its place, more residents have relied on Charlotte County's Dial-a-Ride — a volunteer organization that provides free rides for people without access to affordable transportation.

Province funds $500,000 for two-year pilot project

The new bus service was given life after receiving $500,000 in funding from the province in July — enough to sustain the pilot project for roughly two years and take some weight off of the volunteer Dial-a-Ride service.

Rural Lynx is providing the twice-daily, round-trip service in partnership with Maritime bus.

The service starts in Saint Stephen and makes stops in Saint Andrews, Saint George, Pennfield and Lepreau, heading east to Saint John.

Choptiany said seven people used the bus on its first trip from Charlotte County to Saint John. (Ben Silcox/CBC)

The first bus to Saint John ran last week.

"That was a very exciting time," Choptiany said.

"It's a full coach, it's comfortable, it's on time. It was just lovely to see."

A round trip ticket to Saint John is expected to run around $50 taxes included.

With files from Information Morning: Saint John