Ambassatours considers intercity bus business
Published Friday, August 17, 2012 6:36PM ADT
With Acadian Lines set to idle its buses for good, there is a lot of room on Maritime roads for a new intercity bus service, and at least one bus tour company is considering getting into the business.
The vice-president of the Halifax-based tour company Ambassatours is used to giving tours. But by the end of the year, Gary Powell says he could be touring the Maritimes with bus passengers.
“We’re still going through our numbers, investigating what the different scenarios could be and what the opportunities might be,” says Powell.
Ambassatours is considering entering the intercity bus market, and with Acadian Lines planning to pull its buses off the road by the end of November, many people say there is a need.
“For us, the students who don’t have a car, it’s going to be hard,” says university student Maggie Zhang.
However, Powell says provincial regulations will need to change in order to make the business financially viable.
“Just because Acadian did it one way doesn’t mean we need to keep doing it that way and it could be a better service at the end of the day for the travelling public,” he says.
Powell wants to be able to offer seat sales during slower business times and he would also like to see some flexibility in routes that aren’t busy.
“Certainly there’s some great van operators in the provinces that could actually provide a great service to meet up with a major centre, to link up with a motor coachline run operation,” he says.
“Anything is better than nothing,” says Zhang.
Powell says Ambassatours, which has roughly 70 buses in its fleet, has no plans to get out of the tour industry. He believes the company can provide both tours as well as a Maritime bus service.
Officials with Ambassatours will decide by the end of next week if the company will make a formal application to try and operate a Maritime bus service.
Powell has a call into the office of New Brunswick Premier David Alward and has already spoken with representatives from the Nova Scotia government, whom he says were very receptive to his potential plan.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Garreth MacDonald