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sufficient transport services through other licensed carriers and the taxi industry, the
situation was not ideal. This said, the Board notes Mr. Jurcina suggested under the table
cash transactions were required to obtain certain services. This is not a factor which
weighs in the applicant’s favour.
Unlike many applications, the issue of competition with idle buses during off-peak
hours might not be as pronounced, given that Blackwood currently only operates during
the cruise ship season. This is a time when most of the motor carrier industry in Sydney
is often fully booked.
Blackwood’s service is different from that of Pengbo’s Shuttle, which currently has
no authority to provide service to cruise ships at all. Pengbo’s Shuttle only has a limited
charter authority. While Mr. Fu has made attempts to obtain wider charter authorizations,
to date he has not been successful. There would therefore be no current impact on
Pengbo’s Shuttle if a license amendment was granted.
The Board finds the impact on Markie Tours would be limited. While Markie Tours
may do some work on Cape Breton Island, as Mr. Markie explained, it would primarily
originate from the mainland. This would ordinarily not be related to the Sydney cruise ship
industry. As Mr. Jurcina explained, it would likely often be cost-prohibitive to do contract
work with Markie Tours in relation to Sydney cruise ships, given the travel distance from
The evidence as to whether the existing licensed carriers could service
Blackwood’s current overflow is perhaps not as cogent as the other aspects of the
application related to a niche market and a growing business. That said, Blackwood has
clearly had to go outside the motor carrier industry. As well, it appears some of
Blackwood’s competitors, who offer a similar service with smaller buses, are supportive of
As discussed in a recent Board decision, there is no precisely defined test for when
there is a need for a service in a particular area [see: McNeil (Halifax Titanic Historical
Tours) (Re), 2021 NSUARB 35 ].
Protecting licensed carriers from unsustainable competition is a strong component
of the legislative scheme. That said, in ordinary circumstances, where a smaller existing
licensed carrier, with significant growth potential, shows that a type of niche service is
required by a segment of the tourism industry which is underserved, with sufficiently
persuasive supporting evidence, it would weigh heavily in the balance. There was at least
some evidence of this type. That evidence was relatively anecdotal.
The Board is persuaded that no need has been demonstrated for the additional
requested vehicle for any authorized charter activities under the extra-provincial license.
As well, there was no evidence adduced showing a need in parts of Nova Scotia beyond
Cape Breton. The expressed need appears limited to the cruise ship business at the Port
of Sydney. It is, therefore, clear that Blackwood has not met the standard of proof for the
full scope of its application. That said, the Board has considered whether a more limited
scope of amendment, where the use of the additional bus requested in the application
would be tied to operations at the Port of Sydney, could be granted.
Unfortunately, despite there being at least some positive factors in the applicant’s
favour as the situation existed in 2019, this application comes before the Board for a
hearing at a very inopportune time. Blackwood, which operates exclusively during the
cruise ship season, has no confirmed bookings for 2021 or beyond. While at the time of