Shutdown of Acadian Lines: An Opportunity in Disguise
HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (August 14, 2012) – The closure of Acadian Lines presents the Maritime Provinces with an unprecedented opportunity to build a new system that provides public transit across the region, said the Ecology Action Centre (EAC) and Atlantic Canada Sustainable Energy Coalition (ACSEC). EAC and other ACSEC members represent thousands of individuals throughout the Atlantic Provinces.
ACSEC and EAC call on the provincial governments of New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia to work together to form a Maritime Transit Agency. The organizations said such an Agency would be publicly organized and supported with a moderate amount of funding to provide inter-community bus service according to an agreed-upon set of standards for frequency and service coverage.
“People rely on inter-community bus service for many reasons including access to employment, education, family visits and healthcare services,” said Wayne Groszko, Sustainable Transportation Researcher with the Ecology Action Centre. “Bus service is an important resource in the lives of our citizens, allowing freedom of movement for people and goods at an affordable price.”
“The Saskatchewan Transportation Company provides bus service to 290 communities across Saskatchewan,” explained Groszko. “Together, the Maritime Provinces have a greater population and smaller land area than Saskatchewan. We must confront the challenge of Acadian Lines’ closure by developing a similar model here.”
Catherine Abreu, ACSEC Regional Coordinator, agreed that regional governments have the chance to show real leadership.
“Bus service has, on average, the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per passenger-kilometer served, and is accessible to a diverse range of people of varying income, ages and ability levels,” noted Abreu. “We need public transit, and public transit needs leadership and organization.”
“Government, community groups and the private sector require one agency in which to work together to create an innovative transit network that works for our region,” Abreu continued. “We clearly cannot continue to rely on the regulated private sector as we have in the past.”
Groszko pointed out that Nova Scotia is ideally positioned to start the ball rolling.
“EAC’s 2010 study ‘Which Way Forward: A public transit map of Nova Scotia’ identified no less than 30 separate providers of public transit services of various kinds in Nova Scotia, most of them operating without coordination, resulting in schedule conflicts, duplication, and poor service frequency and coverage,” he said. “We must start here and bring the other Maritime Provinces to the table.”
Wayne Groszko, EAC – 902.482.8817
Catherine Abreu, ACSEC – 902.412.8953