There were many who spoke at the CHAD Transit annual general meeting on Friday, but perhaps the most powerful words came from two who have used the service.
Rodney Beck will graduate from the Nova Scotia Community College Pictou campus this year. It’s a feat he knows wouldn’t have been possible if it weren’t for the CHAD service. He said he was like many people who thought the service was only for the disabled or seniors. But someone told him they’ll let anyone ride who has a need.
He was able to work out an arrangement with them to get between Pictou and Stellarton each day and finish his degree. He knows they gave him a cheaper rate because he couldn’t afford more for the extended period.
“If it wasn’t for CHAD taking that risk, I wouldn’t be walking across the stage next month,” he said.
Stacy Munro was equally in need. She uses a wheelchair and didn’t have reliable transportation to school each day. She was able to get CHAD to drive her though and continues now that she’s graduated and working at the Museum of Industry.
“It has provided me with independence,” she said. “Without CHAD, I wouldn’t have been able to continue my education past high school.”
It’s for stories like that that guest speaker at the AGM, former premier John Hamm, praised the work of those who make CHAD a success.
“There is no better example of collaborating to fill a community need,” Hamm said. “Every time I see the CHAD bus dropping off at the hospital or the Wellness Centre or Sobeys, I marvel at the foresight of CHAD engineers.”
He pointed out specifically Ron Levy who along with his wife came up with the idea for CHAD and created it.
CHAD may have ended their fiscal year slightly in the red, but the talk was all positive at the non-profit’s AGM.
Accountant Kevin MacDonald said that thanks to good management by Danny MacGillivray, executive director for the organization, the organization was able to increase income and end the year with a deficit of just over $6,600.
One way they were able to increase income this year was by selling advertising on the buses. They’ve also purchased a van to be used for trips for only a few people rather than sending buses for every trip.
Faus Johnson, chair of CHAD’s board of directors, said they’re also looking to raise the profile of CHAD more by being visibly present at community events. For example they plan to help transport veterans’ families to the cenotaph on Remembrance Day and other events of that kind.
MacGillivray said they’ve hired a part-time person to assist him in the office and it has had a tremendous impact on the operation. He also praised the drivers who are known for the quality of service they provide.
During the 2013/14 fiscal year, the group made more than 32,500 trips of individuals on bus and minivans and travelled 225,000 km on the roads of Pictou County. Drivers spent more than 12,000 hours on the road driving people around.