On behalf of students at St. Thomas University, I would like to urge the Energy and Utilities Board not to grant Acadian Coach Lines’ request for a variance to the Board’s decision of July 16th, 2010.
Acadian Lines’ justification for reducing/eliminating service on important routes in the province is that those routes in particular, and their operations in New Brunswick in general are not profitable. Acadian Lines proposed increases to service between a “corridor” of major cities as a necessity in order to increase ridership and make its overall operations in New Brunswick profitable.
Acadian Lines’ Fredericton terminal is now located at the edge of the city in an area far less accessible for the majority of Acadian’s customers, including students. In addition, while there was substantial publicity about Acadian Lines’ application to cut service, Acadian Lines made no effort to publicize the fact that changes approved by the board did not include an elimination of service along the Fredericton-Miramichi route and have not yet been implemented. Many students have simply assumed that Acadian Lines no longer provides service between Fredericton and Miramichi. Part of the decline in ridership could be due to negative publicity surrounding decisions to move the Fredericton bus station to a less accessible location and the application to eliminate entire routes.
In Acadian Lines’ Response, dated March 5th, to the St. Thomas University Students’ Union’s Information Request, Acadian states:
“We’ve tested the idea of introducing express routes between these four main cities as well as more frequencies (more departures times per day). We need more people, more often on our buses. The status quo simply is not working.”
Despite the urgency in Acadian Lines’ initial application to the Board to increase service in their “core” market, Acadian Lines has made no effort to implement the approved changes before returning to the board to request to decrease service without a corresponding increase.
After the Board arrived at a decision that reflected a compromise between the needs of New Brunswick residents dependent on Acadian Lines for intercity transportation and the changes Acadian argued could make their business profitable, Acadian Lines has requested to not even attempt to try implementing these changes. The variance should not be granted, and Acadian Lines should be required to implement the Board’s decision for a period of time before requesting to further reduce service.