© Guardian photo
Adam Doiron, co-owner, Maritime Bus sits on one of the busses that will be servicing routes around the Maritimes beginning Saturday.
The new Maritime bus service launches from Charlottetown on Saturday morning at 6:45.
With all the regulatory hurdles now cleared, Maritime Bus is ready to fill the void left recently by Acadian Bus Lines.
"It's a huge challenge,'' owner Mike Cassidy said Thursday.
But it's a challenge he says his company is more than ready to take on.
"We just felt we had to do it,'' Cassidy said when asked why he's doing it. "It's nice that we were in the business, and it helps when you have infrastructure and you have people, you have staff, you have buses and you know the industry.''
Maritime Bus is doubling the frequency for Prince Edward Island. The bus will leave the province in the morning and again in the afternoon and is now coming back twice a day.
"You'll be home at noon hour and you'll be home at 9 o'clock (at night).''
Cassidy said there will be a bus leaving Halifax at 9 a.m. and arriving back on P.E.I. at noon.
He's going to concentrate on getting the service up and running before diving into full-time hires.
More than 400 resumes came in to Maritime Bus and some of those are from former staff with Acadian.
"I have four or five Acadian drivers with me just part-time in my charter business. I have the ticket agents and, I think, come Saturday morning I have seven or eight Acadian ticket agents that will be helping me throughout the region.
"You have to remember the Acadian people have experience, a passion for the business but I have to be fair to everybody that put in a resume.''
The new company will operate in three provinces under the name Maritime Bus. While rates may stay the same, Maritime Bus will use smaller vehicles on runs that weren't profitable for Acadian.
Cassidy said the new company did $1,200 worth of business on Wednesday after the website launched from approximately 350 emails and 300 phone calls.
"It's very, very encouraging. The community support . . . it was tremendous.''