GUYSBOROUGH – It’s been just more than a year since the Transit Association of Guysborough (TAG) three-year pilot project began, and the organization has just hired its third executive director – Guysborough resident Julie Anne Fox.

TAG Chairperson Catherine Hartling told The Journal she was pleased with the hire.

“She started on Dec. 19, which is excellent.”

As for business, it’s been busy. The service has its regular riders who use the service to go to work, to doctor’s appointments and for groceries. They also provide ride service to one-off events like the Nor’easter craft beer festival at the Chedabucto Lifestyle Centre this past November.

Ridership varies month over month, but data to date suggests every month sees at least 100 people using the service.

As for funding, the pilot is fully funded by the Rural Transit Solution Fund (federal government) and the Accessible Transportation Assistance Program (provincial government). The organization is applying for additional funds for accessible vehicles through the Accessible Transportation Assistance Program. For now, the program runs with two vehicles staffed by two drivers – Colin Purcell and Norma Jean Swain – throughout the week, excluding weekends.

As for the pilot project proving the necessity for the service in Guysborough County, Fox said, “There are some people that would be in dire straits without it. We have a lot of medical people going for their dialysis appointments, things that are critical. That is our base ridership. Those people leave pretty early in the morning and then maybe they are gone six or seven hours doing that. In between that, I try to book other errands. With the two drivers, they are pretty much busy all day, every day.”

With new vehicles being added to the fleet in the near future, summer coming and some demand for weekend rides, Hartling said the association is looking to hire some relief drivers and part-time weekend drivers.

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