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Funding for local transportation service results in vehicle, staff, administration


TRURO - Provincial funding has been given to the Colchester Transportation Cooperative Limited (CTCL) to help purchase a new bus as well as other necessities.

The Colchester Transportation Cooperative Limited (CTCL), based in Truro, will receive thousands of dollars in provincial money for a new bus, dispatcher and business plan. Colchester North MLA Karen Casey, right, officially delivered the good news to CTCL business manager Sue Taylor yesterday morning.

Sue Taylor, CTCL's business manager, said the $54,120 towards a new bus (through the Accessible Transportation Assistance Program) and $15,000 for a business plan and part-time dispatcher (through the Nova Scotia Transit Research Incentive Program) is a huge help.

"It's very important. Our old bus is starting to have problems and we have more and more clients," Taylor said, adding the new 18-passenger, four wheelchair accessible bus will replace an aging vehicle of the same caliber.

Taylor said the bus will cost more than $70,000 and CTCL will provide the remainder of the money through a trade of one of the current five buses as well as a bank loan.

Regarding the business plan and dispatcher, Taylor said those are invaluable to the organization.

"There's just not enough hours in a day to do all" the work without the assistance of a dispatcher, said Taylor, adding there's an interim person in the position but the funding will allow for hiring a permanent part-time position.

The business plan, she said, has to be updated to help CTCL "see how we can sustain ourselves."

The last business plan was created in 1999, the year CTCL came in existence, Taylor said.

Colchester North MLA Karen Casey, who made the official announcement on Wednesday on behalf of former Municipal Affairs minister Mary Furey, said having a business plan "will strengthen further government applications."

"The whole issue of transportation in rural Nova Scotia is a concern," said Casey.

"There is no public transport along the shore" and "this is more cost effective; that's why the government is doing this ... not to compete with commercial operations but to make it more affordable for people who don't have money for commercial."

Taylor added there's a misconception that CTCL services are only for people with disabilities.

"It's for anyone ... disabled, on a fixed income or minimum wage or if you don't have a vehicle," Taylor said, adding the organization also has a small grant of $2,700, until March, through the community health board to help people in need.

CTCL says there can be upwards of 70 people a day using the buses and the office is open Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Buses run between 7:50 a.m. and 5 p.m. throughout the week (and earlier during school) and charters are also available on the weekend. Appointments should be booked at least 24 hours in advance.

User costs are $5 for first five km; $7 for 10 km; and 75 cents per km after that. Charters cost $2 per km or $40 per hour.

mchiasson@trurodaily.com

Twitter: tdnMonique

 

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