Speakers tout organization's recent successes at AGM
Speakers noted the organization’s recent successes during the gathering on Tuesday, one of which was a partnership with Community Services and Mental Health.
While they’ve been using CHAD Transit for several years, it’s increased over the past four years and they only started to track the cost-savings compared to using taxis during the fiscal year of April 2015 and March 31, 2016.
“It’s a good news story,” executive director Danny MacGillivray said during the meeting, adding that it’s an example of using taxpayer funds wisely.
The meeting also served to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the organization, which offers rides to people with disabilities, seniors and anyone who is “transportationally disadvantaged.”
Guest speaker Central Nova MP Sean Fraser noted the importance of transit, and said the issue was raised during a series of consultations leading up to the federal budget regarding what people think the government should be doing.
“When I met with the non-profit sector in Antigonish, Pictou County and along the Eastern Shore, without question the top issue that non-profits raised was the lack of access to rural transportation. There’s certain people that often have transportation needs that aren’t being met,” he said, naming women’s centres and places like Career Connections as examples of places people may need access to and don’t currently have.
He suggested the cost of providing transit to a community would be less expensive for a government than the costs associated with not having it.
While the organization has much to celebrate this year, vice chair John McDavid did note they face a challenge of low ridership on trips – meaning they sometimes only have three or four passengers in a vehicle that can seat 18.
Another barrier faced by CHAD is the perception that it’s the “wheelchair bus,” with MacGillivray noting 85 per cent of people who use the service are not in wheelchairs. While all of the vehicles are accessible, chartered trips can be booked for weddings, parties, and trips to wineries – to name a few examples – and transporting school groups and kids going to day camps.
“We’re hoping to further grow that market,” he said, adding that charter bookings help to fund the core operation.
CHAD went over its finances during the meeting, revealing the organization is once again in the black, with a $19,793 surplus. While that surplus is less than last year’s, they have shown an increase in advertising and charter revenues.
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