A ‘taxi-saver’ program that might accommodate low-income Gabriola seniors can’t be initiated without implementing a full Handy-dart service that would cost $75,000, according to BC Transit.
However, Dennis Trudeau, Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) general manager of transportation and solid waste said at a June 22 protocol meeting between Islands Trust and RDN staff and elected representatives, RDN staff are looking into what other options might be possible.
Regional Director Howard Houle said at the meeting at the Trust offices on North Road, that it is provincial policy not to split services and offer only one part – such as the taxi-saver program – of a service.
He added that he asked for feedback from community members about whether they were willing to pay for a bus service, but with the exception of two couples, all responders thought a bus service wasn’t “viable for Gabriola at this time”.
Trudeau said an RDN transit business plan established in 2008 sets out a goal of doubling transit ridership in 10 years. He said subsequent transit studies were done in electoral areas A, B (Gabriola, Mudge and De Courcy Islands) and H.
As the RDN board recognised more bus routes would have a significant impact on the budget, Trudeau said, staff was directed to look at how the recommendations from the new studies would be prioritised with what was already in the 2008 plan.
This review will be done this year, Trudeau said, as staff are updating the 2008 plan, now that it is in its fourth year. He said the RDN will ensure there is a discussion with the Local Trust Committee’s new Transit Advisory Committee when the plan is updated.
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