NEW GLASGOW – CHAD hopes it can expand its local bus service with fixed routes.
To that end, the Central Highlands Association for the Disabled will discuss the matter during a two-hour consultation at Central Nova MP Sean Fraser’s riding office at Bridgeview Square starting at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday in New Glasgow.
CHAD executive director Dan MacGillivray will join Fraser and Jamie Stewart from Four Points Business Consulting in the conversation.
MacGillivray said the idea of an event started several months ago. He said it would be the first fixed bus route service since Pictou County Transit closed in 1996 and provincial funding ended.
He said the plan is to utilize the community consultation this week to offer a business plan and devise a feasibility study that would lead to a pilot fixed service by the fall of 2017.
CHAD began offering rides for local disabled residents and expanded the services for those needing transportation for various reasons, such as medical appointments.
MacGillivray said CHAD needs to do something to complement its current door-to-door service which is fully booked. His computer screen shows a massive spread sheet filled with riding requests. A survey produced 500 responses among those interested in growing the bus service.
“We decided to take on fixed routes to alleviate pressure on the door-to-door on-demand service we currently operate,” he said. “In the five years I’ve been here, we’ve never said no. Now we have to because the service is so full.”
The fixed service concept is an opportunity to expand the bus service to more areas and serve more customers, he said.
“It’s a chance to serve more of Pictou County,” he said. “Any vibrant community has public transit and that’s what we want for Pictou County if can do it. A lot of people have said mass transit is important. They have fixed incomes, or they’re non-profit groups.”
Should the service proceed, MacGillivray envisions return trips from New Glasgow to Pictou at 6:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. lasting 90 minutes and hourly loops around the Upper Towns between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Dan MacGillivray, CHAD executive director, stands in front of a poster containing responses to a consultation workshop regarding future plans for public transit in Pictou County. (Goodwin photo)