NS: Protest takes aim at Acadian Lines closure, Via Rail cuts

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By Andrew Rankin, Metro Halifax

Demonstrators weren’t only at Victoria Park to oppose the coming cuts, they were calling on government for a transportation strategy that could service Nova Scotians and the rest of Canada.

VIA rail workers and other Canadian Auto Workers Union members stage an information picket in Victoria Park to protest the cuts to Acadia lines and VIA services in the region.

[HALIFAX, NS] — Mark Curtis felt the desperation caused in his hometown of Broken Hill, Australia when the train that served it and everyone in between the nearest city of Adelaide 500 kilometers away, suddenly closed.

So while he and his vacationing family were waiting to catch the train in Halifax Thursday they decided to join a protest at Victoria Park against the imminent closure of Acadian bus lines and the coming cuts to Via Rail.

“We’ve seen the affect of that in our community and how desperate it was,” said Curtis. “Seniors have to pay a $300 plane ticket to see a doctor. It’s been terrible on them. That’s why we’re here.”

The 50 or so demonstrators, which included, Acadian line bus drivers, Via Rail employees and riders, weren’t only there to oppose the coming cuts, they were calling on government for a transportation strategy that could service Nova Scotians and the rest of Canada.

Acadian bus lines is scheduled to fold Nov. 30, while VIA Rail’s Montreal-to-Halifax service will be cut from six runs per week to three runs per week by the end of this month.

Canadian Auto Workers national representative Chad Johnston said that not only should the services be brought back but it also must be bolstered.

“The province needs to get an integrated model, which involves rail and bus and ferries working together along with the other provinces,” said Johnston. “The government needs to take an active role. We’ll continue to apply pressure. This is a start.”

Halifax MP Megan Leslie was on hand and said she shares that philosophy and will pressure the federal government to bolster public transportation across the country.

“Last week at the House of Commons the majority of MPs, i.e. the Conservatives, voted against a bill for a national transit strategy,” said Leslie.

Organizations: Via Rail, Acadian Lines, Canadian Auto Workers House of Commons Conservatives

Geographic location: HALIFAX, Nova Scotians, Broken Hill Australia Adelaide Victoria Park Canada.Acadian Montreal

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Recent comments

  • backwards?
    October 14, 2012 - 10:08

    Are we going backwards in time? We had a passenger train, buses, public transit, and Westville once had a trolley. Yes i understand more people have their own cars today, but a lot still do not, and would not if there was a worthy replacement. I guess we will be forced to drive electric cars or hybrids in the future meanwhile transport trucks will be getting 4mpg and spewing unburnt hydrocarbons into the atmosphere delivering freight all over the place. If anything bring back the trains, and force transport trucks to be electric...not our 30+mpg passenger cars. Force coal burning plants to switch to something else. I am so sick of the "elite" ruining our planet for profit and then blaming us/making the public feel responsible. Do the youth a favor and install a bullet train from Atlantic Canada to Alberta because we are all going to need it someday.

  • the Titanic
    October 12, 2012 - 22:41

    People donèt seem to realize . No matter what the political party Western Countries are an empire in decline. I would gladly trade F35 fighters to be used in stupid foreign adventures for high speed trains from every major city in Canada. We as a people have to start thinking of our interests on this continent. Not some village in Afghanistan.

  • James
    October 12, 2012 - 11:19

    Why the heck would they vote against a bill for national transit strategy? Regardless, the provincial government has know for awhile now what was coming. Do they have a plan in place? Do they even care?