City seek­ing new Parabus part­ner

North Bay Nugget - - NEWS - Jennifer Hamil­ton- Mccharles

The City of North Bay will be is­su­ing a re­quest for pro­pos­als for an op­er­a­tor to take over the Parabus ser­vice.

PHARA ( Phys­i­cally Hand­i­capped Adults’ Re h a b i l i t a t i o n As­so­ci­a­tion), which has long op­er­ated the ser­vice, an­nounced in April it is ter­mi­nat­ing its Parabus pro­gram agree­ment with the city as of July 31.

PHARA is­sued a me­dia re­lease last month in­di­cat­ing it was a dif­fi­cult and chal­leng­ing de­ci­sion not to re­new its in­volve­ment in the pro­gram.

Mayor Al Mcdon­ald told lo­cal me­dia Thurs­day the ser­vice will be con­tin­u­ing. How­ever, to be fair, the RFP process must take place.

“It wouldn’t be fair to give the con­tract to one com­pany. This process will give bid­ders and those who want to re­spond time to put to­gether a pack­age.”

Mcdon­ald said the city could bid.

“PHARA does a good job. We have won­der­ful men and women ( who drive the bus) and we hope their ser­vice con­tin­ues when the PHARA con­tract ends this sum­mer.”

Un­der the agree­ment, PHARA pro­vided the driv­ers and the city pro­vided the buses and cov­ered ex­penses such as fuel and re­pairs.

The costs as­so­ci­ated with the ser­vice are es­ti­mated at about $ 30,000 per month.

Nipiss­ing- Timiskam­ing MP An­thony Rota, Mcdon­ald, lo­cal me­dia and tran­sit man­ager Remi Re­naud spent the morn­ing tour­ing bus stop im­prove­ments and the pub­lic works of­fice on Franklin Street in a new Parabus ve­hi­cle.

Re­naud said the ve­hi­cle, which can ac­com­mo­date nine peo­ple, in­clud­ing the driver, and of­fers a ramp board­ing sys­tem, went on the road last week.

The cost of each ve­hi­cle is about $ 115,000. The city pur­chased two to im­prove sched­ul­ing and flex­i­bil­ity, as well as re­duce its en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print.

The city’s con­tri­bu­tion was $ 130,000, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment pitched in $ 60,000 and the prov­ince con­trib­uted $ 42,000.

Re­naud said the city is mix­ing its fleet to re­spond to var­i­ous de­mands.

He said the de­mand for Parabus ser­vice is in­creas­ing with an ag­ing pop­u­la­tion.

Re­naud high­lighted some of the im­prove­ments the city’s tran­sit depart­ment has made to im­prove its ser­vice.

He said 12 con­crete pads were laid last year near pop­u­lar tran­sit stops to as­sist peo­ple in wheel­chairs and walk­ers.

“We re­cently pur­chased so­lar­pow­ered shel­ters that pro­vide in­te­rior light­ing. These shel­ters are lo­cated in ar­eas that don’t of­fer a lot of light­ing.”

The new shel­ters are lo­cated through­out the city, in­clud­ing Gor­manville, Mckeown, Sage and Bir­chaven.

“The new shel­ters, which are be­ing put up this sum­mer, will pro­vide safety for pas­sen­gers and help op­er­a­tors.”

The to­tal in­vest­ment in con­crete pads, shel­ters and side­walks to­talled $ 314,000 - $ 30,000 from the city, $ 157,000 from the fed­eral gov­ern­ment and $ 127,000 from the prov­ince.

Jennifer Hamil­ton- Mccharles / The Nugget

Mayor Al Mcdon­ald and Nipiss­ing- Timiskam­ing MP An­thony Rota walk through on of the city's two new Parabuses.

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