Nova Scotia students are distressed by recent news that Acadian Coach Lines will cease all Maritime operations in November 2012. The decision to close such an important form of interregional and intercity transportation puts a particular stress on an already thinly stretched student population.
The most immediate effect of the closure is the loss of an affordable and consistent mode of transportation that many students depend on for travel between their primary residences and their schools throughout the year. For Becca Webster, an Acadia student living in Wolfville over the summer, but from just outside Saint John, the bus is an irreplaceable way to see family and get to school. “It’s nice to have that method of transport when you’re living 5 hours from home and a car just isn’t an option.” Like so many other students, Webster understands that the bus is dependable and reliable, allowing her to travel affordably and helping her to independently travel. “Without the Bus I might not have been able to go to my mother’s surprise party this year.”
In many areas of the Maritimes, alternative transportation, simply does not exist and the loss of a vital form of mass transit to many universities will have a particularly damaging knock on effect for institutions such as St. Francis Xavier in Antigonish, Acadia in Wolfville, Cape Breton University in Sydney and the NSCC campuses in smaller towns throughout the province.
These institutions depend on students travelling from surrounding rural and urban areas. At the same time the availability of affordable mass transit from the regions major airports will make travel to areas outside HRM prohibitive for out of province and international students—which Nova Scotia Universities depend on for their enrolment. “A cab from Wolfville to the (Halifax) Airport is $140,” Acadia Student Colton Fagan told ANSSA. And as the Globe and Mail has already reported, A cab ride from St. Francis Xavier is as much as $200.
Limiting student mobility will no doubt weigh heavily in future student’s decision to attend a Nova Scotia institution and sends a negative message to those looking to live, learn and work in Nova Scotia.
We hope that the Nova Scotia government will come to a compromise that will allow Acadia lines to continue service in profitable corridors while supporting students and rural communities throughout our province.
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