Montreal-based Acadian Lines seeks to cut bus service in rural Nova Scotia

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KENTVILLE, N.S. - Transportation options in southwestern Nova Scotia are disappearing as Acadian Lines seeks to cut its rural bus routes.
The Montreal-based bus company, Groupe Orleans Express, has applied to the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board to cancel its Kentville-to-Digby bus run, citing major financial losses.
The company said it lost $1.6 million on its Maritime routes in 2009 and plans to shift its focus to urban areas in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
It has applied to increase its service between Halifax, Moncton, Fredericton and Saint John, while reducing bus service in rural areas.
It has asked the board to allow it to reduce daily runs between Halifax and Sydney from three to two and discontinue a third run between Halifax and Kentville.
It also wants to eliminate daily service between Kentville and Digby.
Just last month, the province announced it would no longer fund the Cat, the Yarmouth-to-Maine ferry, severing a major provincial transportation link. There are also doubts about the future of the Digby-to-Saint John ferry.
Local businesses are concerned about the cuts to transportation services in the region.
"Any cuts in economical modes of transportation for people and goods hurts economic activity," Gary Morse, president of the Eastern Kings Chamber of Commerce, said Tuesday.
Groupe Orleans said the Kings Transit bus service is already serving the area and it is too small a market for two competing bus companies.
Kings Transit, a small, municipally owned and funded service, connects small communities between Weymouth and Windsor. It doesn't carry freight and is not equipped for long-distance travel, said Kings Transit chairman Mark Pearl.
"The only impact the Acadian Lines cut will have is in the expectations of the travelling public," Pearl said Tuesday. "But we don't operate equipment designed for long hauls. We don't have washroom facilities, for example."
He said he is disappointed to hear Acadian Lines has applied to abandon the route. They share a Kentville bus station.
Pearl said Kings Transit gets a lot of requests for expansion of service, but without provincial funding, it could not replace the Acadian Lines service.
Transport 2000 Atlantic, a public transportation advocacy group, is concerned about the reduction in bus service.
"All our regional rail service disappeared 19 years ago and now the bus service seems threatened too," said president John Pearce.
Pearce said there should be government support for buses, in the same way other modes of public transportation are funded.
"We spend a great deal of money on roads and (issues of) climate change and the fuel supply. I think we have to prepare to see quite a restriction on private automobile traffic."

Organizations: Acadian Lines, Groupe Orleans Express, Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board Eastern Kings Chamber of Commerce

Geographic location: KENTVILLE, Nova Scotia, Montreal Halifax Saint John New Brunswick Moncton Fredericton Sydney Yarmouth Maine Weymouth Windsor

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  • perry
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    Public transportation in rural areas is often non-existent. Yet private transport is often not available to the elderly, the young the disabled, those on low incomes and those who choose not to own cars. What happened to Transport 2000 STRIVING to make public transport MORE ACCESSIBLE.

    Transport 2000 was formed to oppose the destruction of the environment by over-reliance on roads and to promote public transportation.

    If Groupe Orleans (Acadian Lines) is allowed to remove this service and can't offer sustainable transportation and some hope for rural communities and sparsely populated regions then they should be ousted.

    If a company such as Acadian Lines can't do much to advance the provision and use of public transportion within and between rural communities, then maybe it's time we kick them out of town and support our own long distance provicinal BUS system.

    Groupe Orleans comment prove they are inadequate for they have no concept of what they are talking about.

    Kings Transit is a completely different market and is NOT in competition with Acadian Lines but is a compliment to each others clientelle.

    Kings Transit is designed to support local residents with bus stops within short distances. Acadian Lines is a Connector service from town to town.

    Insiders know that Groupe Orleans are not interested in serving the people of the province of Nova Scotia, they are only interersted in the dollar value they can obtain from Maritimers.

    Groupe Orleans is a disposable company and we must show them (by evicting them from the province) we don't need them or their service and can create our own transit system.

    If we give them the upper hand they will tell us how they are going to run the system. We must DEMAND from them the service we require and if they can't meet the demands then find someone who will. Plain and Simple!