Car sharing will improve travel options for MTA students
Editor’s note: Many residents in the Tantramar region are seeking transportation to meet their daily needs, to get to medical appointments, to participate in community events and to lessen their environmental impact. In the coming weeks, there will be a series of transportation stories shared by local residents as part of the Transportation for Tantramar initiative through EOS Eco-energy, a local non-profit communitybased organization.
Getting to appointments, work, shopping or daytrips can be a real challenge for students without access to a vehicle. Like many Sackville residents without a means of transportation, trips outside of Sackville are a rare occurrence.
Emily Phillips, a fourth year environmental studies major, moved to Sackville two years ago without a car. She seldom left Sackville, except to travel home to Maryland. Last year, she purchased a vehicle to make her travel home easier.
While Phillips uses the vehicle infrequently because of environmental concerns, having access to a vehicle has increased her enjoyment and appreciation for the Tantramar region.
“I’ve enjoyed this past semester so much more being able to see Fort Beauséjour and other parts of the region. There are so many beautiful places so close by, but most students have no way to get there,” said Phillips.
But lack of transportation does not just prevent MTA students from appreciating the history and natural beauty of the region, it also limits their ability to work.
Giacomo Vecia, a third year environmental science and biochemistry student, recalls the difficulty he encountered trying to find a job without adequate transportation during his first summer in Sackville. Around half of the jobs required some form of transportation, either to drive to them or to be used while at work.
“As a student we have a basic need for accessible transportation, especially to continue our livelihood as students, and that is something New Brunswick lacks,” said Vecia.
Fortunately, Vecia had access to a car at home and had the resources to drive it the 2,000 kms from Ontario to use it for his job. Many students do not have this option.
Both Phillips and Vecia believe that a carshare cooperative would solve many of the
transportation difficulties experienced by students, whether they need to travel for appointments, shopping, work or to visit and experience the larger Tantramar region.
Car-sharing cooperatives allow a group of individuals to share a pool of common vehicles.
Members pay per-use fees that cover insurance, maintenance, gas, and other expenses associated with car ownership. It costs significantly less than car ownership, but still provides access to a vehicle, as needed.
Vecia hopes that a carshare will begin in Sackville as early as next fall. EOS Eco-energy has put together a transportation committee of local residents who are interested in helping to develop transportation options for this area, including car sharing.
“I think that this will be a step in the right direction to address many of the transportation problems, both locally and regionally,” said Vecia.
For more information on the Transportation for Tantramar project, contact EOS EcoEnergy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 506-536-4487.