If you live in Moncton or Nova Scotia, the St. Thomas University students’ union can help you get home for the holidays.
The STUSU has chartered a Trius bus to travel to Moncton on Sunday, leaving the Vanier Hall parking lot at 11 a.m. From there, it will stop in Amherst in time for students to board Acadian Lines buses going to other locations in Nova Scotia, including Truro, Sydney and Halifax.
Tickets cost $30 to go to Moncton and $40 to Amherst.
Acadian Lines workers have been locked out since Nov. 30, halting all service in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
Maintenance workers, mechanics, customer service representatives and drivers in the two provinces have been without a contract since Dec. 31 of last year.
“We had students coming up to us the last couple weeks about concerns around the Acadian bus lines labour dispute and how they were going to get home for the holidays,” Livingstone said.
“There are people out there who don’t have other options.”
Last week, Livingstone contacted Trius. The company agreed to give the STUSU a discount on the charter bus, which seats about 55 people.
In order to determine where the bus would travel and how much students would be willing to pay to take it, Livingstone emailed a survey out to students. Out of 150 people who responded, more than half wanted to go to Moncton or Nova Scotia.
There aren’t any plans right now for the STUSU to charter buses to any other locations, unless the executive receives additional feedback from students, Livingstone said.
“At this point in time, we don’t see the demand.”
Because space is limited, Livingstone said students should get their tickets as soon as possible.
A federal mediator has gotten involved with the dispute between Acadian Lines and the union. But if the mediator can’t help the two sides reach a resolution before classes at STU resume on Jan. 9, Livingstone said it may be feasible to run several buses back to Fredericton from various locations.
But Livingstone hopes it doesn’t get to that point.
“I think it’s pretty obvious in what we’re doing right now is that students want the buses on the road. They need to get places.
“Either side not coming to an agreement impacts us and hopefully they can come to an agreement themselves very soon. If they don’t, it will continue to impact users like students.”
Students going to other locations have turned to Facebook and Kijiji to find rides.
A website and Facebook group called Carpool/Rideshare Maritimes is helping connect people looking to get from one place to another throughout the Maritimes during the bus lockout.
Tickets for the STUSU’s charter bus can be purchased until 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Reservations can be made by calling the STUSU office at 460-0301 or visiting SUB room 31 between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.
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