Greater Moncton groups seek better public transit

With rail cutbacks, the upcoming closure of Acadian Lines, and an ongong Codiac Transpo dispute, an anti-poverty group and environmental organization have teamed up to find ways to improve public transportation in the Greater Moncton area.

Anti-poverty group and environmental organization team up on Go Transpo project

Some Moncton area residents are finding it difficult to get around with the ongoing Codiac Transpo dispute, Via Rail cutbacks and pending closure of Acadian Lines. (Kate Letterick/CBC)

A publicly-funded anti-poverty group and an environmental organization have teamed up to find ways to improve public transportation in the greater Moncton area.

The city locked out about 80 Codiac Transpo bus drivers, mechanics and service workers on June 27 in an ongoing contract dispute.

Meanwhile, Via Rail is reducing service in Atlantic Canada at the end of the month and Acadian Bus Lines is shutting down at the end of November.

"Without proper transportation people can't access health care, jobs, education. And without that, you can't have vibrant healthy and sustainable communities," said Meggie MacMichael, co-ordinator of the project called Go Transpo: Connecting Southeastern N.B.

The Region 1 Community Inclusion Network and EOS Energy Inc. want to work with communities in the region to create a model for accessible and sustainable transportation.

Surveys will help develop action plan

Part of the project will be a survey of people's transportation needs, she said.

"We are looking at various things, but specific questions for people would be like — how far is it to your doctor's office? Do you have access to a vehicle? Do you have an extra vehicle you don't use often?

"And then different questions about public transportation like buses, car pooling and car sharing," MacMichael said.

Information from the questionnaires, which are available online and at city hall, will be used to create an action plan next spring, said city spokesman Paul Thomson.

He's looking forward to seeing the results, he said.

"We have been working on, when the system is back up and running, that it is an improved system. And any feedback that we get on that, whenever we get it will be valuable," Thomson said.