Studies have shown that the ability to travel, without a car, is an important part of a community’s livability. Public transportation provides opportunity, access, choice and freedom, all of which contribute to an improved quality of life. The lack of public transportation in Bear River continues to be a serious barrier for residents.
This February, directors of the Board of Trade attended a Public Transit Expansion Study meeting sponsored by the County of Annapolis and chaired by Acting Director of Community Development, Laurie Emms. Kelly Foxton, Larry Knox and Don Rice attended on behalf of the Board as focus group members.
The meeting updated participants on possible future public transportation services and models under consideration by the County of Annapolis.
Consultant Wally Beck from HDR/itrans is reviewing three rural areas for possible future transit service. Bear River is one of three areas being considered. The type of service is yet to be determined but could include a linkage through a King’s Transit route or a collaboration with Bear River, Digby and Annapolis Counties and the community based organization Le Transport de Clare (Clare Transit).
Currently the counties fund King’s Transit to offer services along the hwy 1 corridor including from Bridgetown to Weymouth. However, the route does not dip down into Bear River.
Our group met the founder of an active, enthusiastic community-based transportation service Claredon Robicheau. For 16 years, Le Transport de Clare has been moving people around rural Clare and up to Weymouth through their dial-a-ride system. This is achieved with a combination of volunteers, paid drivers, funding from 3 levels of Government, sustainable practices and the drive and dedication of founder. They use small shuttle busses and vans and continue to expand. They have inspired the startup of 11 non-profit transportation groups across the province.
Claredon Robicheau has offered to come to Bear River to talk to us about how we could start such a system here.
Our group was very encouraged by Annapolis County’s concern for Public Transportation in Bear River. We are also inspired by the work of Clare Transit and look forward to meeting with them in the spring. Interested Bear River residents can contact Larry, Don or Kelly to become involved in this venture.