By Jocelyn Turner
Amherst Daily News
AMHERST – After a five-month strike, Acadian Bus lines came back. Now, they are about to drive out of the Maritime provinces permanently.
The bus line recently announced that, due to financial issues, the company would no longer be servicing customers in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island as of Nov. 30.
Jason Blanch, the Green party candidate for Cumberland-Colchester-Musquodoboit Valley and a counselor at the detox centre in Springhill said a lot of his clients come to the centre from all over Nova Scotia.
“Many of (my clients) come and go on the bus,” he said. “I anticipate that people will be hitchhiking more.”
Blanch said he thinks more people will be taking steps to provide others with inter-community transportation, a similar system to car-pooling, if using a taxi is out of the question. He said he saw this method used many times during his travels around the world.
“It was just these small vehicles that traveled routes, like bus routes. I remember traveling, what would be the equivalent to traveling from (Amherst) to Cape Breton, in a car,” he said. “People would come through and they would pay the preset, haggle the price, to get them further down the road.”
Keeping the Acadian Bus services, Blanch said, is not feasible and costs too much to run with not enough people utilizing the service.
Taxis are an option and are commonly used when traveling around town. But for greater distances, Blanch said the expense for most people would be too high.
“I met a woman who took a taxi from Amherst to Truro for a meeting, about four or five hour trip (all together), and it was around $200.”
Blanch said without a government-approved solution, a lot of people who rely on the bus system will find it more difficult to travel out of town.
“It’s sad, though, because the people who are going to suffer the most are the people without vehicles. It’s going to be students, people just starting out in their life, people living in poverty, and people with mental illness,” he said. “It’s going to affect certain parts of the population that I would argue have the biggest struggles already.”
Cumberland County Transportation Services provides similar services and to that of Acadian. A representative from the company was not available to comment by press time.
Trius bus tours is also considering taking some of the Acadian Bus routes in the Maritimes.