MACHIAS, Maine — Acadian Bus Lines, which operates a daily bus run from Saint John, New Brunswick, through Maine to Bangor, is seeking to halt its service early next year.
Manon Piche, vice president of marketing and sales for ABL, said Tuesday that “all around profitability” is the reason for the change.
In Canada, she explained, any changes in schedules must be approved by the New Brunswick Energy and Utility Board. ABL has petitioned the board but has not been given a hearing date yet.
Piche expected that hearing to take place between January and March.
“We are a private company,” she said. “We are not subsidized. At the end of the day, we have our bankers.”
Piche said the St. John-Bangor trips run 365 days a year, “even when the bus is empty.”
Piche said ABL also is making other changes to its New Brunswick service.
An official in New Brunswick, according to the Saint Croix Courier, is appealing to the councils in St. George, St. Andrews, St. Stephen and Blacks Harbour to formally object to the changes.
“I feel such a cut in service will greatly inconvenience the people in our area,” Fisheries Minister Rick Doucet told the Saint Croix Courier last week.
John “Jamie” Everett, ticket agent at the Bangor bus depot on Main Street, said he has watched the popularity of the service decline over the past few years. He said the ABL run has many riders on weekends but few during the week.
A round-trip ticket for one adult from Bangor to Saint John costs $82 Canadian. Buses depart Bangor daily at 11:45 a.m. and take about 4½ hours to get to Saint John.
Everett said Canadian riders come to Maine to visit family, shop, and go to Hollywood Slots.
“I think they did a poor job of advertising the service,” he said.
The executive director of the Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau, Kerri Tripp, also is concerned. She said she has no way right now of quantifying the effect to Bangor if the service is discontinued, but added, “It hurts the linkages between the two cities.” Saint John is Bangor’s sister city in Canada.
“Not only are people coming here for shopping, family and entertainment, but we also have a number of people connecting here for the next leg of their journey,” she said.
For information, including rates and schedules, visit www.acadianbus.com.