To the Editor:
The CHAD Board of Directors decided early in the consultation process that we needed to operate the fixed route “Pictou County Transit” at arm’s length financially so as not to jeopardize CHAD’s operation. The decision was made that unless we had the co-operation and financial support of all municipal units that we could not justify moving forward with the pilot project.
CHAD is a not-for-profit organization with the support of all six municipalities and the provincial government for which we are grateful. Over the last five years we have been able to turn a fairly significant loss into a small profit that can be reinvested back into the organization. This has been accomplished through the introduction of a weekend and evening charter service as well as selling advertising on the sides of the buses. Ridership also increased significantly which was one of the main motivations of reintroducing a fixed route system in Pictou County to relieve some of the demand on CHAD. We expect this demand to increase each year as more people rely on CHAD’s service and our demand is near capacity now.
An extensive consultation process verified the need for such a service in Pictou County as having both an economical and environmental benefit to the Pictou County. The service was planned to be all inclusive carrying students, employees and seniors to their destinations and back. However, with funding for only one bus for the pilot project we were compelled to service the areas with the greatest population density. Only after a successful pilot could we justify expanding the service to more rural communities and herein lies the problem! Suggestions of negotiations have been made and we are willing to sit down with any potential funders of this project to discuss their concerns, however, the fact remains that we can only have one bus and if people expect timely service, as they should, there is only so much ground we can cover. We are happy to share any and all information with the municipalities and strongly suggest that this service be considered under the “Shared Services Agreement”!
In the interest of keeping CHAD as an economically viable entity we will not be pursuing this project any further at this time but will be willing to assist other interested parties where possible.
Faus Johnson, Chairman
Board of Directors CHAD Transit