Reports of Stripped Shelves Greatly Exaggerated
The first day of open travel within the Atlantic Provinces produced a long traffic jam in both directions on the Trans Canada Highway linking Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. However, descriptions remind us of a quote from Mark Twain who said, "Reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated."
Reports of a lineup from the New Brunswick border to Truro—NOT true. Reports of a massive demand for services at exit 6 in Oxford—NOT true. And, reports of the Oxford Subway running out of supplies—NOT true.
Was the highway busy? Absolutely. Cars were backed up from the boarder to the Wandlynn in Amherst as departing Nova Scotians found themselves in stop and go traffic that advanced at about 1.8 km/hr.
It was a busy day, busier than expected, but not at all like the rumour machine would have you believe.
Complaining motorists and photos to social media presented a picture that grew almost virally out of hand.
Delays at the border, whether entering New Brunswick or headed to Nova Scotia, were obvious. Combine the first day of free travel with a Friday and weekend pursuits, and nobody should be surprised.
Most affected were those who work in essential services—health care, food production, and other services—have witnessed lineups for the last few months. Many have identification on their vehicles to hasten their passage across the provincial border, however today’s lineup held them back from the express lanes, making some an hour late for work.
Similarly, truckers use an express lane as they near the border but today’s extended traffic slowed them down before reaching their preferential treatment.
By mid afternoon stories were circulating that Oxford was overrun by weary travellers getting off the Trans Canada. An employee at Subway near exit 6 said it was a busy day but said reports that the sandwich shop had closed after running out of supplies were simply not true. The shop did run low on bread but that was not uncommon since the store bakes fresh daily and resupplying the baked counter is normal.
Stories about the Tim Hortons outlet next door suggested the coffee demand had a lineup to the order window that snaked out the parking lot and all the way down the ramp to Highway 104. Again, sources confirm it was a busy day but not a whole lot more than normal for recent weeks.
The premier of Nova Scotia said there was a pent-up demand for travel but maybe Friday was not the day to launch the free travel policy in the four Atlantic provinces.
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