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CHAD Transit tries out proposed routes for fixed bus service

CHAD Transit executive director Danny MacGillivray and consultant Jamie Stewart ride the bus during a dry run Saturday morning.
CHAD Transit executive director Danny MacGillivray and consultant Jamie Stewart ride the bus during a dry run Saturday morning.

NEW GLASGOW – They thought it would take 90 minutes and they were almost dead-on.

“I think this is going in a positive direction for the community,” said Danny MacGillivray, who is the executive director of CHAD Transit. The non-profit group is spearheading a movement to bring a form of fixed route public transit back, and its staff and board members did a test run of the proposed routes on Saturday.

“Isolation is a big thing these days, especially for seniors, and getting people from point A to point B will help in all kinds of socio-economic ways.”

The bus left the CHAD office on New Glasgow’s East River Road at precisely 9:38 a.m. on Saturday, with MacGillivray seated alongside Jamie Stewart of Four Point Business Consulting.

Wayne Frazee, who once drove for the old Pictou County transit, was at the wheel, and lying near his seat is Baldwin, a guide dog for Craig Aucoin, one of several CHAD board members tagging along and offering suggestions regarding potential bus stop locations.

Two routes are being considered – a 90-minute loop to run three times a day early in the morning, around noon and again in the early evening, which would include all five towns. Another would run several times during the day and include New Glasgow, Trenton, Westville and Stellarton.

“One of the things we accomplished today is making the decision to have the bus go to Pictou three times a day,” Stewart said.

The routes will have designated stops but, according to Stewart, “there will be points on the route – we call them pre-designated flagging areas – where people can flag down the bus. We’re still working on that.”

On Saturday‘s dry run, the bus stopped at the Aberdeen Business Centre, stopped again near the New Glasgow Library before heading to Trenton, pulling up at a curb near the town hall.

From there, the bus made its way through Abercrombie and into Pictou, bypassing Pictou Harbour, its water smooth as glass on a windless morning.

They would explore several options to pick up passengers in the Shiretown before heading back through Abercrombie and into New Glasgow’s west side.

After a quick stop at Highland Square Mall, the final leg of the journey went into Westville (one stop) and then over to Stellarton (two stops), before they arrived back at the CHAD office after being on the road for one hour, 31 minutes – one minute past the target.

CHAD will approach the municipal units in Pictou County in February, looking for contributions to the nine-month pilot project. MacGillivray said the total asking price will be $60,000, shared by the six units.

Quick facts

• In 2015, the non-profit group received a provincial government grant to fund a feasibility study to expand their services in Pictou County.

• A public survey found that 99.5 per cent of the 500 respondents said a fixed route service was would support a fixed bus route. It’s hoped to start a pilot project by the fall of 2017.

• A $4 fare is being considered for adults and $3 for students and seniors, with discounts available when purchased in a pack of 10, or as a monthly or annual pass.

• The bus would have 18 seats and an area for wheelchairs, in addition to standing room areas, provided that safety bars are installed in the vehicle.

• Box stops in close proximity to homes for seniors are high on the priority list.

“I think this is going in a positive direction for the community,” said Danny MacGillivray, who is the executive director of CHAD Transit. The non-profit group is spearheading a movement to bring a form of fixed route public transit back, and its staff and board members did a test run of the proposed routes on Saturday.

“Isolation is a big thing these days, especially for seniors, and getting people from point A to point B will help in all kinds of socio-economic ways.”

The bus left the CHAD office on New Glasgow’s East River Road at precisely 9:38 a.m. on Saturday, with MacGillivray seated alongside Jamie Stewart of Four Point Business Consulting.

Wayne Frazee, who once drove for the old Pictou County transit, was at the wheel, and lying near his seat is Baldwin, a guide dog for Craig Aucoin, one of several CHAD board members tagging along and offering suggestions regarding potential bus stop locations.

Two routes are being considered – a 90-minute loop to run three times a day early in the morning, around noon and again in the early evening, which would include all five towns. Another would run several times during the day and include New Glasgow, Trenton, Westville and Stellarton.

“One of the things we accomplished today is making the decision to have the bus go to Pictou three times a day,” Stewart said.

The routes will have designated stops but, according to Stewart, “there will be points on the route – we call them pre-designated flagging areas – where people can flag down the bus. We’re still working on that.”

On Saturday‘s dry run, the bus stopped at the Aberdeen Business Centre, stopped again near the New Glasgow Library before heading to Trenton, pulling up at a curb near the town hall.

From there, the bus made its way through Abercrombie and into Pictou, bypassing Pictou Harbour, its water smooth as glass on a windless morning.

They would explore several options to pick up passengers in the Shiretown before heading back through Abercrombie and into New Glasgow’s west side.

After a quick stop at Highland Square Mall, the final leg of the journey went into Westville (one stop) and then over to Stellarton (two stops), before they arrived back at the CHAD office after being on the road for one hour, 31 minutes – one minute past the target.

CHAD will approach the municipal units in Pictou County in February, looking for contributions to the nine-month pilot project. MacGillivray said the total asking price will be $60,000, shared by the six units.

Quick facts

• In 2015, the non-profit group received a provincial government grant to fund a feasibility study to expand their services in Pictou County.

• A public survey found that 99.5 per cent of the 500 respondents said a fixed route service was would support a fixed bus route. It’s hoped to start a pilot project by the fall of 2017.

• A $4 fare is being considered for adults and $3 for students and seniors, with discounts available when purchased in a pack of 10, or as a monthly or annual pass.

• The bus would have 18 seats and an area for wheelchairs, in addition to standing room areas, provided that safety bars are installed in the vehicle.

• Box stops in close proximity to homes for seniors are high on the priority list.

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