YOU SAID IT
“We want to make sure that we have the support from their council and the community.”
PORT HAWKESBURY — The Strait Area Transit Co-op is continuing to expand its service into new areas.
The body’s board recently voted in favour of expanding the service into the First Nation community of Chapel Island. General manager Malcolm Beaton noted the service is working to arrange a meeting with band officials.
“ We want to meet with them to explain to them what we’re going to be doing there, and to make sure that we have a buy-in from their community, as well; it’s no good to send a service in if it’s not going to be utilized,” he said. “ We want to make sure that we have the support from their council and the community.”
Beaton said among the information he wants to provide the band council with are dates when the service will run and where it will stop. Once that takes place, it could begin serv- ing the area pretty quickly, just a week or so after the meeting.
Due to demand, SAT is also expanding into Petit de Grat on a trial basis, three days a week. Previously, residents of that Acadian community had to make their way into nearby Arichat to catch the bus, which Beaton said could be a difficulty for people.
“ We’ve had a tremendous amount of interest,” he said.
It’s too soon to gauge the response, Beaton said, noting that it will take some time to measure and to promote the service.
Beaton is pleased with how the service has grown since it was launched about a year-and-a-half ago. In addition to one bus, it owns a number of vans.
“ The bus is pretty well maxed out coming from Richmond County into Port Hawkesbury in the morning, we’re talking a lot of (Nova Scotia Community College) stu- dents, we’re taking people to the ROC Centre, we’re taking people to their medical appointments,” he said.
In anticipation of an expansion into Inverness County, SAT is currently considering purchasing another bus and a couple of vans. A committee is currently working on that potential expansion.