08/16/2012 12:18 EDT | Updated 10/16/2012 05:12 EDT

Regional bus service needed for Maritimes: Nova Scotia transportation minister

HALIFAX - Nova Scotia's transportation minister says the Maritimes need a regional bus service to make up for the shutdown of Acadian Coach Lines later this year.

Maurice Smith says he hopes his province, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island can come up with a collaborative solution to keep buses running in the region.

Smith wouldn't say whether that could involve opening up the bus transit industry to the private sector or launching a Crown-owned bus service, saying only he is looking at all options.

He spoke with New Brunswick Transportation Minister Claude Williams on Wednesday and said he will also talk to his counterpart in P.E.I., Robert Vessey.

Williams and Vessey have both said that any solution lies in opening up private sector competition.

Acadian Coach Lines, which provides intercity bus service in the three provinces, plans to close its operations on Nov. 30.