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Nova Scotia selects another operator for Yarmouth-to-Portland ferry route


PORTLAND, Maine — The Nova Scotia government is giving the boot to Maine-based ferry operator Nova Star and is giving another shot to a company that used to operate the service between Portland and Yarmouth, Nova Scotia.

Nova Scotia Transportation Minister Geoff MacLellan announced Thursday that the government had entered into talks with Bay Ferries, which previously operated a high-speed catamaran on the route.

"It fundamentally came down to their experience, their expertise, their understanding of this market," said MacLellan. "They really brought a package that made sense."

The Portland-to-Yarmouth route was operated over the past season by Maine-based Nova Star Cruises, which failed to meet ridership goals despite receiving $41.5 million in provincial subsidies in its first two years of operation. Four companies, including Nova Star, submitted proposals for next season.

Bay Ferries operated a high-speed catamaran, the Cat, that ran between Yarmouth and Maine from 2006 until 2009, when Nova Scotia announced it was eliminating an annual subsidy.

Mark MacDonald, the chief executive of Bay Ferries, said in a statement that the company wants to work with the province in "rebuilding this key transportation corridor." The company currently operates ferry service between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and between Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.

Nova Star said it was disappointed by the province's decision.

"We would like to thank the people of Nova Scotia for their support over the past two years, and we will work with the province of Nova Scotia toward a smooth transition to the 2016 operating season," the company said.

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