QUEENS COUNTY, N.S. – In less than one year, Queens County Transit (QCT) has grown into an essential service not only connecting residents of the Region of Queens to their own community but to destinations beyond their own county.
Tammy LeBlanc, QCT manager says not only is the service going strong and providing an important service to anyone who needs it, but it has also expanded beyond their expectations, with ridership numbers reaching an average of 100 per month and some months hitting more than 200.
That’s impressive, she points out, for a service that was launched less than a year ago.
What’s even more impressive she adds, is that QCT has plans to expand its services. Currently, they own three vehicles, two of which are wheelchair accessible.
Launched in September, QCT provides affordable and accessible door-to-door transportation to connect Queens County residents to the services and supports they need to lead healthy, happy and fulfilling lives, LeBlanc explains.
They meet the growing demand with three paid drivers and three volunteers.
“We are looking for more. If we had more drivers, we could keep them busy,” she adds.
QCT, a non-profit organization, is already making a big difference in the community by creating valuable community infrastructure that enhances connections in the community and reduces social isolation, she says.
Furthermore, LeBlanc says, QCT will soon be launching a new Maritime Bus connector service for Queens County residents that will allow them to not only travel to Bridgewater but also to Halifax and areas in between at an affordable rate.
“Some residents currently have no options to travel to outside areas or simply don’t feel comfortable driving in larger areas,” LeBlanc says, adding there is a misconception that QCT only services seniors or those requiring accessible transportation.
“This service is for all residents in Queens County,” she explains. “The service is currently being used to transport students to school, to run errands, to go grocery shopping, to attend events and medical appointments, and the list goes on. We also do trips to anywhere in Nova Scotia and have been doing group excursions on a contract basis.”
Funds to provide the services have been realized through several sources, LeBlanc explains, noting that the Queens Community Health Board has donated funds to assist with subsidized rates, which enables QCT to offer a discount to those unable to afford the full fare.
LeBlanc says the organization depends on municipal and provincial funding as well as donations from the community to ensure an affordable service and to offer subsidized fares. QCT can issue a tax receipt to anyone wanting to make a donation to the organization.
“The fare structure has recently changed in order to be more feasible for the rider as well as the organization,” she says. “The new structure will include a per kilometre rate opposed to zone rates. Rates are also discounted when two or more people book together. Attendants always ride free.”
LeBlanc says anyone looking for more information should visit www.queenscountytransit.ca or check out Queens County Transit’s Facebook page.
“If you are interested in supporting Queens County Transit, becoming a volunteer driver, or just have questions, contact QCT at 902-356-2670,” she adds.