Nova Scotia

Accessible transit service to roll out in Eskasoni First Nation this summer

The First Nations community of Eskasoni in Cape Breton is getting its own transit service. Two new buses have been ordered for the service, which is expected to roll out by late summer.

2 new buses have been ordered for the community

The buses will operate throughout the community and make trips to Sydney. (Colleen Connors/CBC)

The Eskasoni First Nation in Cape Breton is getting its own transit service.

Two new buses have been ordered for the service, which is expected to start running by late summer.

Steve Parsons, CEO of Eskasoni Corporate Services, said the transit service is something that's been floated for a long time.

"We have a lot of people that go to town every day, it's a service that's not been provided in the community," he said. "Even within the community, we have people with no transportation. We have people going to Sydney that's costing them $30 in a cab.

"We felt that with our own transportation, we can cut that cost and provide a daily service to [Sydney]."

Community routes plus round trip to Sydney

Parsons said both vehicles — an eight-passenger bus and a 20-passenger bus — will be accessible. A team of four drivers and a manager will be hired, he added.

He said the buses will take people into Sydney for banking, shopping and other things twice a day with designated stops along the way.

The cost will be between $5 and $6 in Eskasoni, and $15 to $20 for a round trip to Sydney, about 35 minutes away.

Passengers will be able to call to request a pickup at home. There will also be bus shelters set up for community service.

The $170,000 cost of the buses is being paid for by the band and the provincial government, with the province providing $110,000 in funding and the band contributing the remaining $60,000.

"We did apply under the provincial accessibility grants," said Parsons.

Parsons said the service is expected to generate enough money to fund itself without becoming a financial burden on the band.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

George Mortimer is a longtime reporter in Cape Breton.

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