No. In a democracy, there are regulations over who can provide services and how they are provided. STC operated using a “culture of safety.” This means that most of its buses were accessible for people with disabilities, and its prices were affordable. For example, a person seeking cancer treatments only paid $69 per month regardless of how often they used the bus.
The Highway Traffic Board is set up by the government to ensure that companies including STC stayed safe, affordable and accessible. That’s their mandate.
Several citizens including seniors, professors, and lawyers wanted to make sure new companies taking over STC routes were also safe, affordable and accessible, as the Highway Traffic Board allows. These citizens raised concerns about all of these things. We also raised concerns that NO applications for transport on rural and remote/northern routes were coming forward.
However, the Highway Traffic board, it appears, was more concerned about de-regulating travel in the province than assuring safety, affordability, and accessibility.
Now, several companies are operating routes. If the routes weren’t profitable for STC, we doubt that without subsidies these routes will remain profitable, but that’s the next story.
Meanwhile, we remain concerned that not everyone has access to safe and affordable transportation and this will particularly affect rural, remote residents including women, the elderly and the disabled.