Maritime Bus looks to expand routes in rural N.B.

The region's interprovincial bus service says it's considering expanding its routes in rural New Brunswick as long as it can make a profit.

Maritime Bus has been operating in New Brunswick for three months, but there's no service for anyone travelling west of Saint John and north of Miramichi.

Owner Mike Cassidy said he is pouring over ridership data from the last three months to see if there's any money to be made in the under-serviced areas.

"We can get a good understanding of our revenue per kilometer and I'm trying to compare that data to projections that we would have for passenger ridership and parcels in northern New Brunswick and southwest New Brunswick," he said.

Once Cassidy has an idea of potential profit he said he wants those regions to commit to using Maritime Bus to make it self-sustainable.

St. Stephen mayor John Quartermain said he would like to see a bus service return to the area, but added it could be difficult to justify the trip.

"By the time you drive to St. Stephen and drive back again to pick up one, maybe two passengers, you're certainly losing money for one thing. Plus to drive a bus down here, just the environmental impact of that is a lot greater than what may be justifiable," he said.

Cassidy said he expects to have all the data compiled by the end of the month and will begin public consultations in March.

Maritime Bus started operations in December, after Acadian Lines shut down its service. Acadian officials said the company had lost millions of dollars providing service in the Maritimes and couldn't make a profit in the region.

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