N.S. transportation minister would set fares, routes for intercity buses
Keith Doucette, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Published Friday, November 16, 2012 11:14AM AST
Last Updated Friday, November 16, 2012 12:50PM AST
HALIFAX -- Nova Scotia's transportation minister would be able to set fares, routes and schedules for intercity bus services in the province under legislation he introduced Friday.
Maurice Smith said changes to the Motor Carrier Act would shift such responsibilities from the Utility and Review Board to his office, thereby giving bus companies more flexibility to respond to market changes and demand.
Smith said the changes would also mean that bus companies would avoid the cost of hiring lawyers when attending hearings before the provincial regulator.
He said he was confident the amendments would help Maritime Bus Service, which takes over intercity bus service in the Maritimes from Acadian Bus Lines on Dec. 1. The company lobbied for the changes.
"This industry is going to continue to be successful I believe with this company," said Smith.
Maritime Bus Service owner Mike Cassidy said the legislation grants his company greater flexibility in setting the frequency of certain bus routes.
He added that he plans to operate five bus runs from Halifax to Moncton, N.B., two more than what Acadian Coach Lines runs now.
Acadian Coach Lines will shut down operations Nov. 30.
Smith said the amendments are similar to moves made in provinces like Alberta, which recently removed all regulation related to fares, routes and schedules.
He said the review board, which would retain responsibility for charter, commercial vehicles and school buses, agreed with the changes.