Maritime bus service will continue, minister says
Acadian Lines will shut down in November
Although Acadian Bus Lines will stop running at the end of November, the Nova Scotia government said Wednesday there will be interprovincial bus service this winter.
Last week Acadian Lines announced it was pulling out of the region as of November 30. The company has not asked for financial assistance and none was offered by the province.
Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Maurice Smith said two other carriers in the region have now expressed an interest in filling the gap.
"Already there are expressions of interest from other carriers that people want to look at this and they've come to us," said Smith, "And so I'm sure we will have a robust system in the Maritimes similar too, or perhaps even better than, what we have now."
The two carriers interested in stepping in once Acadian leaves are Charlottetown-based Trius Tours and Ambassatours in Halifax.
Dennis Campbell, Ambassatours president, said his company is ready to go, but not without relaxed regulation.
"We won't be filling the gap unless the necessary changes are made to make it viable, nimble and business-like," he said.
Campbell said Acadian Lines was losing more than a $1 million every year and said no carrier is interested in picking up that business model.
"Just the ability to make changes to pick-up points. If one pick-up point isn't working and people aren't using it, then to adjust it," he said, "Pricing — if you want to have a seat sale to the benefit of the public, you can't do that so you're really stuck."
Catherine Abreu of the Sustainable Energy Coalition says Saskatchewan has fewer people and a larger land area than the Maritime provinces and still provides service to 290 communities.
"I think if Saskatchewan has developed a model that works for its rural population base, the Maritime provinces can work together to develop a similar model," she said.
Smith said the three provinces are discussing a solution.
"Their regulations don't totally match ours. We have to look at these things to see what could work as we go forward."
Smith met with his New Brunswick counterpart Wednesday. On Thursday he'll talk with the P.E.I. government.