In their ruling, UARB members say expanding service into Antigonish Co. could have a negative impact on the business of three motor coach companies who opposed the idea- Mac Tours Inc., Caribins & Transoverland Ltd., and Markie Bus Tour.
Officials with Antigonish Community Transit supported the expansion.
Jessie MacDonald, Strait Area Transit’s director, says they’re definitely disappointed with the decision, but they’re optimistic about what could be in the future.
MacDonald tells The Hawk they believe some market is still available in Antigonish Co., and they want to provide more accessibility options.
“We do receive some funding from the municipalities and from the province and that does help- it helps us to be able to continue to be able to do our door-to-door service we do all through Richmond and Inverness Co.,” she says. “There’s another part as well- it’s the recreation factor and allowing seniors or small community groups to be able to travel throughout the province.”
MacDonald says smaller groups aren’t going to be able to afford the larger companies’ rates.
She says they’re not ruling out the possibility of expansion in the future.
“I think what we’re going to do now is, any request that we actually get sent in- we’ll file all of our written requests,” she said. “(We’ll) look over the next couple months how many we are receiving, and see if it’s worth another push at it in six months or in a year’s time.”
MacDonald says they’ve been contacted quite a few times by members of community groups who can’t pay for the private companies, and they tried to force that issue during the UARB hearing, but they were unsuccessful.