Acadian Lines offers free rides

Acadian Lines will be back in business this week and the company hopes to win back customer confidence by offering free rides for people travelling from New Brunswick and P.E.I. until May 23.

Intercity bus service is set to start Wednesday in New Brunswick and P.E.I.

Locked-out unionized workers at Acadian Bus Lines voted May 6 to accept a tentative deal, bringing an end to the five-month-old contract dispute that halted bus service in New Brunswick and P.E.I. since December.

Many Mount Allison University students said they are excited the buses are running again.

"Yeah it's good news, it's a little too late now that everybody's graduated, but it should be good for next year," Science student Kayla Phillips said.

Fine arts student Laura Neily from P.E.I. said the buses make it easier to visit friends in New Brunswick.

"I'm very excited that it's coming back, it's going to make things a lot easier when I come visit," Neily said.

Some passengers still have hard feelings over the lack of bus service.

"I was definitely annoyed, I thought, '2012 biggest inconvenience of the year,'" Melissa Godbout, a student from Saint John, told CBC News.

"It was really convenient to have Acadian Bus lines, and so when they went on strike so many people were left basically stranded in Sackville," she said.

While Acadian Lines can't reverse what happened, VP Acadian Lines Maritimes Denis Gallant, said the company hopes to change peoples opinions using the free-ride promotion.

"We want to apologize to our passengers. We want them to see that we did truly have their interests at heart," Gallant said, "Now that we're back on the road, we're looking forward to people enjoying our service once again."

Gallant said the availability of routes depends the availability of drivers and she said many took other jobs to make ends meet during the lockout.

"We are left a little short, however we have enough to basically staff our important routes," he said.

Gallant said it will take some time for all of their routes in New Brunswick and P.E.I. to be back on the road.

The company is asking people to check the Acadia Lines' website for the latest updates.