Community transit co-op gets $100,000 to expand on Eastern Shore

EASTERN SHORE – With more than $100,000 in federal and provincial funding, MusGo Rider Valley- Sheet Harbour Cooperative Ltd. will grow its wheelchair-accessible public transit fleet to three vehicles serving communities from Musquodoboit Valley to Ecum Secum.

Since 2016, MusGo — a community transportation organization based in Porter’s Lake — has helped older Eastern Shore residents, and those with mobility challenges, get to work, attend school, keep medical appointments and shop for groceries.

According to Executive Director Jesse Greenough, the $103,625 contribution announced last week ($82,900 from the federal government and $20,725 from the province) will pay for a new Toyota Sienna hybrid, which will complement the two vans the co-op already has in operation. “One of our vehicles is actually aging out,” she told The Journal, adding that the demand for door-to-door public transit “is fairly steady” in and around Sheet Harbour.

“On behalf of the Sheet Harbour and Area Chamber of Commerce and Civic Affairs (SHCCCA) and our residents, I would like to express appreciation for the addition of this valuable service to our catchment area,” SHCCCA President Janice Christie said in an email to The Journal. “Living in rural Nova Scotia has its challenges and accessible public transportation is one. It is beneficial to our residents when government recognizes the need and works together to create solutions.”

Indeed, noted Central Nova MP Sean Fraser in the news release, “Dependable, accessible and reliable transportation is essential for making our communities stronger and more inclusive, and this investment will help rural residents in Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore and in the Musquodoboit Valley live fuller and freer lives on a daily basis.”

Added Eastern Shore MLA Kent Smith: “Community transportation organizations like MusGo Rider Cooperative provide a vital service… something everyone should be able to count on. From going to work, visiting friends, going shopping or doing so many of the things we do every day, mobility matters.”

Greenough said the new hybrid vehicle — purchased regionally — reflects the co-op’s commitment to the environment. “Our green policy has been in place for a few years, and we will no longer buy fully gas vehicles,” she said, adding that the service will remain affordable.

“People think that we’re expensive, when we’re really not. If you live within 15 kilometers of a grocery store, for example, it would be $7 each way. But we [also] have a fare assistance program in place for people who are struggling. If you are low income, it would be $7 return.”

Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal