Monday, January 9, 2012

Journal Pioneer: Mothers oppose shuttle plans

Parents of teens killed in crash critical of Island firm's van proposal

BATHURST, N.B. - Two women who lost children in a deadly van crash are objecting to a Summerside shuttle service's bid to operate in New Brunswick.

Click here to read original article on The Journal Pioneer

Advanced Shuttle Services has applied to the New Brunswick Energy and Utilities Board to operate there. But Isabelle Hains and Ana Acevedo claim in a press release issued Sunday night that 15-passenger vans are inherently dangerous.

Their sons Daniel and Javier were two of seven teenagers killed when a van carrying members of the Bathurst High School Phantoms basketball team crashed four years ago. An adult also died in the collision with a truck.

An inquiry followed which led to the New Brunswick government adopting some of the coroner's recommendations.

"As a result of our sons' deaths, 15-passenger vans were banned for student use in New Brunswick. They have also been banned in Nova Scotia and Quebec," the mothers wrote in their submission to the EUB. "In terms of passenger safety, 15-passenger vans are not equal to the safety provided by the charter buses used by Acadian Bus Lines."

Acadian Lines buses are not operating on New Brunswick or P.E.I. roadways. Workers were locked out more than a month ago when contract talks stalled.

In their submission, the women say there is a great deal of research that says vans are not as safe as buses and that van drivers are not required to meet the same licensing standards as those who drive coaches and school buses.

"This is a public safety issue and the EUB cannot ignore the fact that in New Brunswick, of all places, there is a heightened awareness and sensitivity to the use of 15-passenger vans for transporting groups of people, especially students," the women write in their statement.

They say any shuttle service not using coaches should use a 21-passenger Multi-Function Activity Bus, which looks like a shortened school bus.

Click here to read original article on The Journal Pioneer