community news

Bus depot on the move

Community Featured

Maritime Bus will be rolling out of its current location on East River Road.

And it’s looking for a new spot.

Wenda Pitre, vice president Coach Atlantic Group which operates Maritime Bus, says the company was notified by Couche-tard, which operates the Circle K, that it had plans for the portion of the business Maritime Bus occupies on East River Road. “We were given until the end of December to find a new location, then they extended it until the end of January.”

The transportation service that moves people and parcels across the Maritimes and into Quebec and Ontario has been in its current location in New Glasgow, at the Circle K in the Irving gas station on East River Road, since 2012.

“This is not a community we wish to leave without a full-service passenger and parcel service because New Glasgow has a need for the service,” Pitre says.

This is good news for local riders like Rick Hartling and his partner, Mary Rose LeBlanc. The two seniors live in Autumn Crest Seniors Apartments on the West Side of New Glasgow, and depend on the bus service, particularly in the warmer weather.

“We travel to Truro a lot” by bus, Hartling explains, and have been doing so for the past decade.

Originally from Dartmouth, he has been living in New Glasgow for the past 14 years; LeBlanc, who hails from Springhill, has been living in New Glasgow for about 10 years. Neither of them drive but both are very active seniors.

“In the summer we walk the loop,” Hartling says, referring to the route from Abercrombie Road to the Trenton Connector, across the connector and in to Trenton, through that town and in to New Glasgow, through the downtown and back to his apartment on Abercrombie Road.

“It takes us about four hours,” he chuckles.

The duo enjoy hopping on the bus to Truro to spend the day there, walking, shopping and otherwise enjoying the sites. “Just getting out of town for a bit as a getaway to break the monotony.”

The beauty of the current location at the Circle K is the fact that it has a convenience store so travellers are able to get their snacks, beverages and such and make use of washroom facilities before the bus pulls out.

Hartling hopes a new location will have all of the same amenities.

The bus service is an important one for many people, notes LeBlanc. It is used by seniors like herself as well as students travelling home for the weekend or holiday. “Every time we take the bus there are lots of people on it. You can tell it’s a service that’s really needed.”

She has already lived in a community that lost its place on a bus route.

“I’m from Springhill. We lost our bus (Acadian Lines) in Springhill. And there were so many people from Springhill that would get that bus to Amherst for shopping. All of a sudden the bus service was just gone and people weren’t prepared. I don’t want to have to go through that again.”

Pitre is hopeful about finding a new location to operate the service.

“If we can’t secure another location before the end of January it could be possible we could remain at that location on East River Road but as a flag stop only, which would mean customers would have to go online to get their tickets and we would only be able to pick up and drop off passengers there; parcel service would not be possible until a full service location was found.”

She notes, “We have enjoyed a wonderful partnership with Couche-tard; they’ve been very good to us and we’re incredibly grateful.”

But now Maritime Bus is looking for a new location.

Hartling says there are many spots in New Glasgow that he feels would be viable including the former Future Shop location on Westville Road and spots in the area of the West Side plaza.

Pitre notes, “We’re now looking for a new central location. Anyone interested in a partnership with Maritime Bus can email info@maritimebus.com.”