The main office at Chad Transit was a busy place on Jan. 9 as people gathered to hear an announcement that could signal a sea-change in the way residents of Pictou County travel.
Leo Glavine, minister of Communities Culture and Heritage made the announcement of a $200,000 provincial investment toward New Glasgow and Stellarton’s future fixed bus route.
The investment is through the Strategic Community Transportation Investment Program.
Public transportation is not new to this area. 1996 was the year when the bus service was discontinued.
“The community has missed the service,” said Chad Transit executive director and mayor of Stellarton Danny MacGillivray in a brief speech in which he welcomed minister Glavine and New Glasgow Mayor Nancy Dicks.
“It’s a very proud day for Stellarton and New Glasgow,” said Dicks. “The pilot is for three years, we want it to be successful and we want people to use it.”
The route will bring passengers throughout the towns of New Glasgow and Stellarton:
· Aberdeen Professional Centre (Route starts here)
· New Glasgow Town Hall (2nd stop)
· Sobeys West Side (3rd stop)
· Highland Square Mall (4th stop)
· Pictou County Wellness Centre (5th stop)
· NSCC (6th stop)
· Foord Street (7th stop)
· Corner of Pine Street and East River Road (across the street from the hospital) (last stop)
Other pick up locations along the way:
· Woodbine Crest - Brother Street Apartments
· Hillside View Seniors - Almont Ave
· Willow Avenue (near corner with Abercrombie Rd)
· Maple Crest Seniors – Maple Street
Note- This map was made using the program Google Maps. The blue line highlights the proposed route. The letters do NOT indicate where the bus stops are expected to be placed.
The cost to passengers will be $3 per ride, and the service will start sometime in spring 2020.
Jan. 9’s announcement of $200,000 comes as great news for Chad Transit and for the municipal partners eager to see the service started. The money will be put toward all the start-up capital costs including the bus with a $160,000 price tag.
A federal investment is still expected to come through, but the amount is unknown. The remaining costs are for fare boxes and bus stop signs.
Fighting against social isolation was spoken of as being one of the main benefits of creating a source of transportation that is accessible, reliable and affordable to more people living in rural areas.
“We can bring people from rural and remote areas into our communities to enjoy the amenities, benefits and socialization that tend to go on in our larger communities,” said Glavine.
Between the provincial contribution and the buy-in from the municipal stakeholders there is a lot of hope riding on the success of this project over the next three years, and that once it’s finished other Pictou County municipalities will jump on-board.