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Maritime Bus (New Intercity Service)

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Now now Chris, simmer down :P Don't you have a community transit bus to ride around on?

I held off announcing until everything was in order today but I left Fort McMurray after getting hired by Maritime Bus / Coach Atlantic Group. Drove a Setra around Truro today and start tomorrow with what I believe is the last scheduled Halifax departure from the soon to be abandoned Acadian terminal in Moncton at 8:15pm. As of Saturday the new bus terminal is at VIA Rail behind Highfield Square.

On Saturday I drive the 12:45pm departure from Halifax to Moncton, and leave Moncton for the return trip at 5pm. Go out of service at VIA Halifax at 9pm. Hopefully I can do this run for a few weeks to see how the passengers like the new schedule. I'm also adjusting to the commute from Middle Musquodoboit to Halifax.

A quick note, unless something changes over the next day or so, all buses picking up/dropping off in Truro will be using the VIA station on Esplanade once Maritime takes over Dec. 1st.

JC

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JC that's great news! Welcome back buddy :)

Haven't been on that Community Transit bus in a couple of years, I don't live out in the woods anymore, I'm in Dartmouth and spitting range of the 58 and 62. Kinda wish 866 was still around though, that was a goodie.

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Hey J.C

Good to see you got on, I was at the former Acadian office last night, to say goodbye to a close friend..

I hope M.B is going to be a good fit, but I also am concerned about the runs, would love to see how many of their buses are w/c accessible, & what are the rules about requesting a W/C bus when we go to Oxford to go to blind Camp next summer, there is a woman in Truro who will need a ride to Oxford, last summer it was a mess, we tried to book the bus 3 weeks ahead, calling Acadian 3 times before camp, & were promised a w/c bus both days we needed it, it was fine getting her there to Oxford, but coming back, the bus was NOT w/c accessible, so acadian ordered a Taxi (non-accessible, she had to be transferred from her chair & the cabbie was incometent & tried to refuse to take her) to take the lady to Turo, she didnt feel safe, (she is in her 60's, legally blind, wheelchair bound, mentally challanged & has a leg bag & colostomy) Her attendents met the cab in Turo, & it was nasty..

So hoping that the w/c situation is sorted out, also the w/c accessible buses were the first ones to be sent back west by Acadian, as of Nov, 7th, there were NO accessible Acadian buses in the maritimes, (there was one, but it had a broken lift & was never fixed)..

I have my doubts about the M.B system working out, & knowing full well that anyone south of St John in N.B is being screwed for services..

That being said, I'll watch carefully, as many of my blind friends use the intercity buses a lot..

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I think Maritime Bus will work out just fine after some minor tweaking to timing points and other minor details. As to accessability and other issues, I won't get involved. Those are issues for the company management to discuss, I just drive the route and bus I'm assigned.

I have been enjoying the Mooseheads Prevost the last 3 days :) Driving another Prevost for Mon/Tues. There is a photo from Sunday's afternoon pick up at HIA on Maritime's facebook page.

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Ok, So its already harder to deal with the new M.B

First of all...

Return trip to Moncton costs so much more than even VIA RAIL, that we will no longer be using the bus to go..

Here is VIA's Price (RETURN).... ( BLIND people i,e CNIB cardholders, get on 2 for the price of 1)

Fare: $59.00 G.S.T./H.S.T.: $8.85 P.S.T.: $0.00 TOTAL CAD$: $67.85

MARITIME BUS (cnib card holders do NOT get 2 for 1 price):

for single adult :

Subtotal $83.30

Sales Tax (15.0000%) $12.50

Total $95.80

For BOTH my husband & myself (return):

Subtotal $166.60

Sales Tax (15.0000%) $24.99

Total $191.59

For 1 ADULT to go to St, John ((RETURN)) :

Subtotal $116.45

Sales Tax (15.0000%) $17.47

Total $133.92

Acadian also did CNIB 2 for 1 pricing....

So for us to go to moncton & back here to Halifax, it was about $90

To St, John, (Closer to family) it was about $125

So Yeah, M.B wont be getting our business, except when going to summer camp, IF they are still going to Oxford..

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It's not Acadian anymore so you can't expect the same pricing structure. The people I've been driving (including 2 visually impaired and one hearing impaired) have been thrilled with the service provided by the driver as well as the competitive pricing and better scheduling.

I searched VIA's website looking for the CNIB pricing and its not there. However, there is a free companion fare for someone travelling with a disabled person. Acadian also offered a similar deal if I recall correctly, but it wasn't limited to CNIB cardholders either. Did you bother to call or email the new company and explain your concerns?

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It's not Acadian anymore so you can't expect the same pricing structure. The people I've been driving (including 2 visually impaired and one hearing impaired) have been thrilled with the service provided by the driver as well as the competitive pricing and better scheduling.

I searched VIA's website looking for the CNIB pricing and its not there. However, there is a free companion fare for someone travelling with a disabled person. Acadian also offered a similar deal if I recall correctly, but it wasn't limited to CNIB cardholders either. Did you bother to call or email the new company and explain your concerns?

Yep, VIA has had the CNIB thing for over 20 yrs, as I and many others have been travelling VIA for a long time, also for the past 12 yrs, a group of maritimers have done the trip to ontario on VIA to go to a awesome winter blind camp, as well as in the summer for summer camp.

M.B are not doing the 2 for 1 pricing as far as the Station people in Halifax know..

Acadian was darn good with disabled people, staff had training as to how to guide us & as well the rules for Guide Dogs... For over 30yrs, there had been a very large group of blind people traveling every summer to Oxford, to attend the Blind camp in Pugwash N.S...

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"M.B are not doing the 2 for 1 pricing as far as the Station people in Halifax know.."

There ya go, so why not call / email the company's head office and explain your situation?

And while Acadian was good with good with disabled people please don't assume that the new company doesn't employ drivers with those same skills. I don't need to explain my many years of bus driving experience and the number of disabled passengers who have been on my buses over the last 20 years.

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"M.B are not doing the 2 for 1 pricing as far as the Station people in Halifax know.."

There ya go, so why not call / email the company's head office and explain your situation?

And while Acadian was good with good with disabled people please don't assume that the new company doesn't employ drivers with those same skills. I don't need to explain my many years of bus driving experience and the number of disabled passengers who have been on my buses over the last 20 years.

Hey J.C...

Took your advice, called the C.S ppl...

I quote the C.S Lady...

1, "yep, we are doing the CNIB 2 for 1, I will call the Halifax ppl & set them straight, as they are telling a lot of ppl, that, you are NOT the first person to say this to me this week"

2, Also, there are currently NO plans to go south of St John, as M.B realize that a LOT of the ridership south of St John, are gone... its not ruled out, but its definitely not in the near future..

3, Also there are currently NO wheelchair accessible buses anywhere in the maritime bus fleet...

4, the happiest news I got was that they ARE going to Oxford!!! WOOT!

5, only some buses have power outlets or WIFI..

So, as of last night, we are going to St John on the 21st, on the 07:50 from Halifax... Coming back on the 28th, on the 09:30 from St John...

Yep, definitely worth the money, as the buses apparently are better than the sad old buggers in the acadian fleet that was on that run constantly!

Also no connections!!!! 1 bus all the way, both ways!!

"M.B are not doing the 2 for 1 pricing as far as the Station people in Halifax know.."

There ya go, so why not call / email the company's head office and explain your situation?

And while Acadian was good with good with disabled people please don't assume that the new company doesn't employ drivers with those same skills. I don't need to explain my many years of bus driving experience and the number of disabled passengers who have been on my buses over the last 20 years.

J.C

I was not assuming, I'm used to the failure to launch that are MEGABUS..... There truly cannot be ANYTHING worse!!

dont even let me go there!! (( Sarcastic GRIN ))

I was sure that M.B wouldent hire idiots, also some of our old acadian drivers came over to M.B not all by a long shot, but I know of a few that did...

As for my husband & I, were likely going to be sitting near the back of the bus, both ways, we have our mini dvd player, some movies, 2 sets of headphones, a kindle & 26GB of music on the crackberry & a FM radio...

Yeah, well entertained!

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Just be careful about thinking there is no transfer in Moncton. The system doesn't show it but in most cases the buses leaving the Halifax terminal arrive in Moncton then Moncton-based coaches are taking the passengers headed elsewhere. The coach that came up from Halifax goes back to Halifax right away.

In fact there has to be a second bus involve since the Halifax - Riviere du Loup route doesn't go to Saint John, it continues onto Fredericton and north. There are 2 seperate routes to service that city: Fredericto - SJ & Moncton - SJ.

When the agent prints your ticket, it'll have perforated sections for each leg of the trip, ie. driver #1 to Moncton, driver #2 to SJ... etc. The website doesn't show all those details.

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Just be careful about thinking there is no transfer in Moncton. The system doesn't show it but in most cases the buses leaving the Halifax terminal arrive in Moncton then Moncton-based coaches are taking the passengers headed elsewhere. The coach that came up from Halifax goes back to Halifax right away.

In fact there has to be a second bus involve since the Halifax - Riviere du Loup route doesn't go to Saint John, it continues onto Fredericton and north. There are 2 seperate routes to service that city: Fredericto - SJ & Moncton - SJ.

When the agent prints your ticket, it'll have perforated sections for each leg of the trip, ie. driver #1 to Moncton, driver #2 to SJ... etc. The website doesn't show all those details.

Since neither of us can read regular print or see/read signs, would there be anyone to help us??

I've never transferred in moncton without an acadian person guiding me....

Thanks

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Since neither of us can read regular print or see/read signs, would there be anyone to help us??

I've never transferred in moncton without an acadian person guiding me....

Thanks

Yes, you will get off the bus at the VIA station, go inside and wait for the boarding call, which is later, provided the first bus is on time. If late, the driver will call to have the connecting coaches held back and will flag down a CSR to help or simply guide you him/herself once all luggage is taken off.

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Cool, Ty J.C..

We're traveling fairly light, one suitcase, 1 big backpack, 1 small backpack (snacks & Stuff for on the bus), coming back home might be different, with 2 suitcases instead of 1, We Travel VIA constantly, so we both always make sure our stuff is VIA rail acceptable size/weight, we figure we'll be ok on the bus doing that..

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ok, we're back from St Stephen...

took M.B both ways Halifax - St John's..

My Thoughts & experiences..

1, staff at halifax station are LAZY, or incompetent!

-- Dec 21st, 0700, station SHOULD be opening... about 12 ppl waiting outside, all MB customers, finally at 7:15 someone, a lone woman comes & unlocks door, being that we all had big luggage, she should have unlocked wheelchair door, would have made it a LOT easier & simpler to get in.. nope, opens the side, single door, complains that we shouldent bring such big luggage!!

2 -- NO announcement whether those of us WITH already bought tickets could go to bus area, no one in main station to give out luggage tags.. NOTHING is said, (by this time there were about 35-40 ppl in a straggled 'line-up' with luggage, a few disabled ppl, its now 7:35am, NO ONE but this single woman, at the wicket doing tickets.. I get fed up, (as my legs cannot handle standing for long periods) I went through the side entrance (via lobby door) to the old acadian shipping office, I see/hear 3 people, (other than the single woman at the wicket) I see 3 ppl, with parcels, I as the ppl in the shipping to PLEASE come out & help this woman, then I ask for 4 Luggage 'destination tags' As (I have had my tickets for 2 weeks) I finally get a response, the 1 woman in the shipping comes over, looks at my tickets, gets me 4 st johns tags & I ask about going out to the bus, she says Yep go on out, its there ready to load... I then tell her what is happening in the main ticket area, she just gives a huge grunt & walks away...

3 -- I go back to the main station, get my husband & our neighbor & we all walk out to the bus, now, here's the nasty part...

4 -- the loading of the bus, holy crap, it was a gong show, NONE of the staff inside, would get off their lazy rear-end's & come help our driver, who is a older guy, white haired (but a total sweetie & knows a LOT about HFX MetroTransit) THEY SAW that it was a FULL LOAD, tons of luggage & stuff & ppl, it took our driver almost AN HOUR to get that darn bus loaded!!! from 7:40-8:35am!!! I kid you not, We were SUPPOSED to leave at 07:50, we never wheeled out of the Station till 8:48!

(it screwed our pick-up in S.J totally!, our family have to drive from 10km south of st stephen to St Johns to pick us up, they dont have cell phones)

5 -- that bus had NO HEAT AT ALL IN THE BACK! NONE! We were 3 rows of seats in front of the washroon, we had NO HEAT, we froze, ( we were even in our parka's)

6 -- it also sounded awful, like it just wanted to die on the highway, ( I've taken 1000's of long distance bus trips, have been taking long-haul transit for over 33yrs (first one was when I was 4 mo's old, I even have opictures of my Mum, holding me on an old '76 MCI Greyhound) I go to michigan ever winter for camp, with 9 hour rides each way.. VERY FEW of the buses I've had have sounded like that..

7 -- The connection in Moncton, it was a nasty joke, just a massive mess of ppl, unorganized at best, chaos at worst, we got in almost 90 minutes late.. 3 buses, masses of ppl, screaming kids, frantic bus drivers, wet, soggy luggage, no one to help with the transfer, (we almost missed the st, johns bus), luckily, our driver was AMAZING, he saw us standing there, utterly lost & not being able to read the bus i.d numbers, (( MB, NEEDS TO MAKE LARGE PRINT DESTINATION SIGNS!!, dont just tell ppl the bus i.d number to figure out which bus your supposed to get on! (( most ppl, dont understand that concept of what it is or where on the bus its located!))

8 -- I LOVE the little 35ft white bus they use for St, Johns! its cute! & has outlets, nice big washroom, VERY comfy seats, Well maintained that one was in its past life! (excellent Driver too! he was extremely helpful, he was just awesome!

9 -- ST JOHNS! WHOOT! Hugs to Cathy!! She's amazing, has a wicked sense of humor & is just the PERFECT MB staff member, shes very quick, knows her stuff, knows many many ppl, is a real firecracker! she helped us deal with a bad situation ( our parents got badly lost finding the terminal!

10 -- ok, so thats it for going to N.B....

COMING BACK:

1 -- saw Cathy this morning, same nice little bus to Moncton from S.J, same kind driver, little bus still clean..

2 -- Moncton..... yeah, GONG SHOW! it was BEDLAM in the VIA station, we got to Moncton on time, actually a few minutes early! We got off the bus fine, the driver literlly stuck the front door less than 15 ft from the main Via station door.. TONS of ppl, all crammed in the front end, near the wickets, all for buses!

3 -- no one telling us what was going on, front driveway where ppl get on buses, was a slushy, nasty mess, not plowed properly, blind ppl, (6 of them) told WRONG information, got on wrong bus because of information, missing their needed bus!

4 -- bus to Halifax, was EXTREMELY LATE! (same older driver as coming) big yellow bus (#606) SACK OF CRAP! honest to goodness, barely any heat, extremely wet & fogged windows, cold drafts, nasty washroom, headrests that came off at slight touch, seat reclining in our seats was busted, but no room to move, bus was PACKED! only good thing about that bus, the seats themselves were extremely comfy...

5 -- our driver was AMAZING!! he knows the HFX bus routes extremely well, told us to get off at Dartmouth stop instead of HFX station, after I told him where we live, he even knew the routes that go by there!! (52 & 64)

6 -- tickets are IMPOSSIBLE to read/understand, need better tickets, need bigger font, need more detailed route/schedule info, need more ppl in call centre!!

7 -- buses look like crap, they look/feel like they're off kijiji or second hand at least, with little to NO effort to keep in decent working condition.. signage, yeah WHAT SIGNAGE!!! (i'm sorry but one small sheet of paper with the MB logo, in the window, high off the ground & impossible for visually impaired ppl to see, has GOT TO CHANGE!!

8 -- the phone system, when you call, I tried several times today, to call, to no avail, I'm NOT wasting my few cell minutes listening to a recording, crap music & then after 3 rings IT HANGS UP ON ME!

GRRRR!

9 -- St Johns station, still has ghost 'ACADIAN' signage! Halifax, isnt much better, with a small paper sign on the shipping office door.. scant signage, in main station, NO timetables ANYWHERE! no luggage policy signage that is actually legible..

yeah, its been around less than a full month, but SERIOUSLY, even ''funtrek'' tours & buslines (tiny long since dead outfit in ontario) back in the 80's had BETTER buses/signage!

So, after talking with many friends (both able-bodied & blind) that have taken MB since its inception, & after hearing of their experiences not being much better than ours, & with the attitude of MB of not even bothering to look into wheelchair accessible buses anytime in the next 6 months future, My Husband & I decided that we're just going to go back to taking VIA, from HFX to Moncton, then the bus down to S.J... until MB, makes a concerted effort of being committed to providing decent transit, & deals with all the issues (yes, I have both emailed them & gotten my friends to as well)

IF we See/Hear a big change, We MIGHT give them a second chance... but for the foreseeable future, we're not going to waste our money, on a garbage service..

Return trip fare on MB, HFX-S.J = $133

VIA HFX-Moncton = $92

MB S.J-Moncton = $60

TOTAL = $152

I'm sorry, but the extra $19 is well worth the comfort, clean, WARM, huge washroom WITH RUNNING WATER, with the always amazing staff of VIA RAIL...

I've NEVER had the hassle taking a bus trip as I've had this past trip.. Even when I did 'the hound' across N/A from Hamilton to L.A, never had this much crap.. infact, MB, NEED to take some lessons from 'the hound' & Trentway-wager, Coach Canada/USA, cause if they dont, they're NOT going to last..

J.C, I wish you all the luck, as I do all the amazing staff that I met in St.J & the 2 drivers we had..

BUT.... seriously, this is not a joke, this is a BUSINESS, your not going to survive if you just fool around & run a second rate outfit, with skeleton under-trained staff (Halifax)

Either get SERIOUS, treat passengers as human beings, or GET OUT & let others do it, cause a lot of ppl out here are from Ontario, (ran into dozens so far from ontario) they KNOW what is a decent inter-city bus system, this, sad excuse of one that is being allowed to fester here, yeah, its NOT..

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I'm doing just fine at the company. Drove the Thurs 12:45 trip out of Halifax head on into the storm enroute to NB and ended up being 4 hours late into Moncton, reloaded and headed back on roads that had turned from snow covered to water covered with a layer of ice under it all. Cobequid Pass was a blast! Must of done something right since most people slept through the slip and slide ride to NS and gave lots of good driving compliments as they arrived safely at their stops. Did the same run today and was only 30 mins late in Moncton and returning to Halifax.

Give the company a chance. Yes it's been a month but the alternative was no service provider at all. MB was the only applicant to take over intercity travel in the 3 provinces. I can see some changes coming in the next couple of months and while a wheelchair accessable bus would be nice, a new bus requires 6 months or more from the time the order is placed until it gets delivered. I'm not sure second hand specialty equipment is a good idea as full time running gear, even though you can pick one up quickly you are buying someone else's headache. I say they've done a decent job of putting some kind of system together with only 8 weeks notice. It's running and while not perfect they are getting to the many issues brought to them, likely in order of priority to keep the buses and people moving.

You didn't travel to St Johns, you travelled to Saint John NB. Don't piss off the SJ NB people :) And you definitely don't want the newfies thinking you are comparing SJs NL to SJ NB. You'd never hear the end of that one!

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I'm doing just fine at the company. Drove the Thurs 12:45 trip out of Halifax head on into the storm enroute to NB and ended up being 4 hours late into Moncton, reloaded and headed back on roads that had turned from snow covered to water covered with a layer of ice under it all. Cobequid Pass was a blast! Must of done something right since most people slept through the slip and slide ride to NS and gave lots of good driving compliments as they arrived safely at their stops. Did the same run today and was only 30 mins late in Moncton and returning to Halifax.

Give the company a chance. Yes it's been a month but the alternative was no service provider at all. MB was the only applicant to take over intercity travel in the 3 provinces. I can see some changes coming in the next couple of months and while a wheelchair accessable bus would be nice, a new bus requires 6 months or more from the time the order is placed until it gets delivered. I'm not sure second hand specialty equipment is a good idea as full time running gear, even though you can pick one up quickly you are buying someone else's headache. I say they've done a decent job of putting some kind of system together with only 8 weeks notice. It's running and while not perfect they are getting to the many issues brought to them, likely in order of priority to keep the buses and people moving.

You didn't travel to St Johns, you travelled to Saint John NB. Don't piss off the SJ NB people :) And you definitely don't want the newfies thinking you are comparing SJs NL to SJ NB. You'd never hear the end of that one!

lol, Yeah J.C, I was DEAD TIRED (had been travelling since 7am, till 6:07pm), when I posted that 'RANT' BTW, THE ST JOHN NB, ppl are AWESOME!

I'll be watching & listening to see what happens with MB... I'm really hoping things go well....

as it is now, We (Husband & myself) could be living in Moncton by October, so that will be easier for one thing, then we'll have a much easier time to get from Moncton to St John, (we have lots of blind friends in the 'monc', who really want us to move there, so we're seriously thinking about it!

btw, whats the average runtime from monc to Rivere de loup? saw the bus today at Monc VIA, that goes there... just curious...

also the roads from Dufferin/St Stephen to St John were pretty bad this morning, we were on the road by 6:45, got to S.J at 8:45, normally we never leave Dufferin till 8 for the 9:30 bus..

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I have nothing against intercity buses, but if given the choice I'll always take the train. Hell I take the train over flying too, unless I'm pressed for time.

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I have nothing against intercity buses, but if given the choice I'll always take the train. Hell I take the train over flying too, unless I'm pressed for time.

I'm totally with you on that one, I'm a train lover, I've been taking VIA or GO since I was less than 6 months old, whether with my Mum or by myself, I've always enjoyed the train, infact in less than 2 months I'll be heading to ontario, a 35 hour journey, I have been a 'VIA freak' for many years.. 99% of the time in Economy or 'comfort class' since we save a butt load on trains with being legally blind..

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Big train fan here too, I've done the Halifax - Toronto and even Halifax - Niagara Falls trip a few times. I also prefer economy, it's cheaper and on the Renaissance cars the seating is 2 x 1, great when I'm traveling alone. Still can't beat the Budd cars though for comfort.

I want to go straight across the country sometime, but that'll be expensive as hell. So I'm thinking about just flying to Edmonton and doing that part of the trip at least.

Also on my list of things to do is the Jasper to Prince Rupert, although 'touring class' on that is also super expensive. I also want to take the train to Churchill MB someday... Sorry I'm turning this Maritime Bus thread into a VIA Rail thread :)

I'm rather curious, what is your level of vision anyway? I assume you have partial vision. I work with a guy who has no vision at all, it's quite remarkable.

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An interesting service that will probably be used by Fredericton and Moncton residents to get to the airports in NB. Unfortunately it doesn't service Northern NB, where most of my relatives are and i've just read a french Radio Canada article about there being no heat on one of the busses from Riviere Du Loup.

I also vacation ocassionally in Shediac in August and there's no service to that community either.

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