With Nova Scotia signing off on a new bus service, there is one last regulatory hurdle left before the company starts its runs in December.
Mike Cassidy, who will run the new Tri-Maritime Bus Network Inc., said the approval from Nova Scotia’s regulator was a milestone for the company.
“It’s tremendous,” he said.
Nova Scotia’s regulator gave the company approval earlier this week and moved the company one step closer to taking over bus service in the Maritimes.
The new company will operate in three provinces under the name Maritime Bus.
Cassidy said the company has conditional approval from the New Brunswick regulator, subject to seeing the planned schedules and rates. He will make a presentation to them on Wednesday with those rates and schedules.
Cassidy said Tri-Maritime Bus Network is working as though it will be taking over Acadian’s routes Dec. 1 because they are on a tight timeline.
“We definitely do not want any disruption of service in the marketplace,” he said.
If the New Brunswick regulator doesn’t give the final OK, Cassidy said that would be the end of his plans because it wouldn’t be financially viable to run bus service in two out of three Maritime provinces.
“We have found that the three provinces work together,” he said.
Cassidy said his business suffered on one of his carriage lines in Nova Scotia while Acadian’s bus drivers were on strike, which showed parcels and travellers use New Brunswick as a corridor run out of the Maritimes.
“Really, by not having New Brunswick it killed us,” he said.
As he prepares to take over for Acadian, Cassidy said he is presenting the New Brunswick regulator with the same rates and schedules as Acadian used.
He also got approval in Nova Scotia to give discounts and incentives.
“I can’t see where we won’t be approved,” he said.
But while rates may stay the same, Maritime Bus will use smaller vehicles on runs that weren’t profitable for Acadian.
Cassidy said in the meantime, his company still has a lot of work to do to get ready, including hiring about 70 or 80 people.
“Guaranteed, Dec. 1 the buses are on the road with Maritime Bus,” he said.