Tantramar Shuttle Service
After being stalled by logistics and permit applications, EOS Eco-Energy, a Tantramar-based environmental non-profit group, is set to launch the trial Tantramar Shuttle Service Monday, Mar. 17. The much-awaited trial shuttle will run for four weeks, ending on Friday, April 11, with the use of Eastlink Shuttle, a charter service.
Discussion over the need for a shuttle has been ongoing in Tantramar for quite some time, and so organizers felt the time had come to test out the viability of the service.
Port Elgin, Dorchester and Memramcook are not currently serviced by Maritime Bus, nor do they have their own taxi companies, leaving residents with few transportation options.
EOS Eco-Energy was awarded funding for the pilot project from the Economic and Community Inclusion Network of the New Brunswick Government, as well as Renaissance Sackville before Christmas.
Over the holidays, EOS conducted a public survey to help design the shuttle routes and times. The survey asked who is need of a shuttle, where they need to go when, for what reasons, and what they thought was a reasonable price to charge. The bilingual survey was promoted across Tantramar and included both online and paper versions. Copies were available from local municipal offices and other public locations across the Tantramar region in Port Elgin, Sackville, Dorchester and Memramcook.
Over 60 surveys were completed and returned to EOS. Adults of all ages answered the survey from each of the four communities, as well as some outlying rural regions. “According to the survey results,” says Amanda Marlin, executive director with EOS, “the top three reasons for needing a shuttle in Tantramar are to shop and run errands, to get to medical appointments and for social or recreational needs in both Moncton and Amherst. Some folks in the outlying regions also want to get into Sackville for these needs.”
EOS held a meeting and corresponded with representatives from the four Tantramar municipal governments, as well as community groups whose clients could benefit from the shuttle (such as food banks, the Tantramar Family Resource Centre, the Drew Nursing Home and Tantramar Residences, DayBreak Activity Centre, Open-Sky Cooperative, Tantramar Regional High School, etc.) to also help provide input into the design of the trial service.
As a result of this community-based research and input, the scheduled shuttle will take Tantramar residents to Moncton three days a week and Amherst two days a week.
Specifically, the shuttle will run from Port Elgin to Moncton (via Sackville and Dorchester) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings and will return in the afternoon. The shuttle will stop at Champlain Place Mall as well as the Georges Dumont and Moncton hospitals. Tuesdays will see folks in Port Elgin and Sackville taken to Amherst and Thursdays will allow folks in Dorchester and Sackville to get to Amherst. Amherst stops will include the Cumberland Regional Hospital and the Amherst Mall. “Riders will also be able to get off along the route, if for example, they live in Port Elgin and want to go to Sackville,” explains Marlin.
She adds that it is important for residents to use the shuttle if they would like it to continue.
“I encourage everyone who needs the shuttle to get on and ride a lot during the trial period. This is the best chance to see if a shuttle can be viable in our region. And if the trial goes well there will be discussions with the four municipalities, community groups and potential funders to see how a shuttle service can continue long-term.”
The shuttle will also pick up or drop off riders at additional stops only if they are along the shuttle routes. Families of four our more can get 10 per cent off their fares.
Booster seats are available on demand and the shuttle has space for shopping bags and walkers (it is not wheelchair accessible).
Further information on the shuttle and its routes, schedules, fares and policies can be found at www.eosecoenergy.com/en/shuttle. To book a seat on the shuttle, contact
Marlin at the EOS office at 536-4487 at least two business days before your trip.