Car shar­ing will im­prove travel op­tions for MTA stu­dents

Sackville Tribune - - COMMUNITY - SUB­MIT­TED BY KRISTIN PEE­BLES

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 eos@nb.aibn.com or 506-536-4487.

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