Senators call on Ottawa to help regional carrier Maritime Bus

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Senators call on Ottawa to help regional carrier Maritime Bus


OTTAWA – About 20 senators from the Maritimes are urging the federal government to provide financial assistance for the intercity bus service they say is at risk due to the pandemic.





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The 21 senators sent a letter to the new Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra, in which they argue that the regional carrier Maritime Bus provides an essential service to the health network, transporting blood products and patients throughout the region.

Senators also plead that the service is particularly important for small rural towns and francophone communities in northern New Brunswick.

The Maritime Bus carrier announced in early January that due to the pandemic, it would suspend its bus service in New Brunswick between Campbellton and Moncton as well as between Edmundston and Fredericton. Service between Fredericton and Saint John and between Fredericton and Moncton has also been changed.

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The regional carrier has already requested support from the governments of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. But senators argue that Maritime Bus does not qualify for various federal support programs, primarily because it is a for-profit company. However, senators point out that Ottawa already directly financed the Greyhound company when this carrier abandoned bus routes in Western Canada.

“Due to the interprovincial nature of (Maritime Bus) and for the sake of regional equity, we believe that federal support, tailored to the unique circumstances of the Maritimes, is warranted,” the letter reads. “As Via Rail service is still suspended and airlines continue to cut services to the region, it is imperative that we maintain Maritime Bus service. A tailor-made federal-provincial agreement is the best way forward. ”

Earlier this month, the president of the regional carrier, Mike Cassidy, explained that the number of passengers had increased from 191,000 in 2019 to 69,000 in 2020.

The Canadian Press

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