Nova Scotia

Residents try to save Strait Area Transit

People in Cape Breton are trying to restart a local bus service that stopped operating last month because of financial problems.

Bus service shut down two weeks ago

Strait Area Transit shut down two weeks ago. (Facebook)

People in Cape Breton are trying to restart a local bus service that stopped operating last month because of financial problems.

The Strait Area Transit operated for about three years and many people relied on it to get to college and the hospital. It shut down March 25.The non-profit charitable organization was made up of a volunteer board of directors along with numerous financial partners and sponsoring organizations.

Anne MacDougall lives in Port Hood and travelled to work in Port Hawkesbury on the bus.

"It would stop at your door. All you had to do was get in a nice warm bus and they would drop you off at your place of work," she said. "I really felt that it would have cost me more to take my own vehicle to work than it was costing to travel on the transit."

Her co-passengers were seniors buying groceries, parents taking kids to medical appointments and college students heading to class.

MacDougall is now driving a car to work.

Access to hospital

Peggy Mahon speaks for the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority. She said the Strait Richmond Hospital is in a rural area outside of Port Hawkesbury and the bus made it publically accessible.

"For example, for regular access to some hospitals services such as dialysis. There were also people who were using the service to come for an appointment at the hospital, so it is definitely going to affect access to services," she said.

"We think this was a very important service for the residents of the Strait-Richmond area and we're really sorry to lose it."

The Nova Scotia Community College says about 20 of its students relied on Strait Area Transit to get to classes every day.

Meetings are underway to see if new funding can be found for the service. 

Representatives from Richmond and Inverness County, Port Hawkesbury and the province met with Strait Area Transit last week to go over the finances involved with keeping the service running.

Richmond County Warden Steve Sampson said it would require a $30,000 commitment to keep the service.