Over the past year, the Moosomin Organization for the Transportation of the Handicapped (MOTOH) has been raising money for the purchase of a new bus, and now the group has taken delivery of a new vehicle.
The new bus, costing around $100,000 was funded largely through local donations.
MOTOH board member Jack Lemoine says that around $75,000 was raised through the community to purchase the new bus.
The new bus replaces a vehicle that had been used for seven years.
“We figured the bus was seven years old and it hasn’t really been a big expense except for gas, but we figured a bus that old would start giving us trouble, so we got a new one,” said Lemoine.
While it may be a new bus, Lemoine says it is very similar to the one they had before, the only difference being the length. The new bus is slightly larger than the old one.
The old bus is now up for sale, and the MOTOH board hopes it will be able to help another community.
“There are smaller towns out there that are looking to have one or maybe are looking for an upgrade.”
Lemoine says that MOTOH has been providing specialized transportation in Moosomin for more than three decades.
In addition to seniors, MOTOH provides transportation for people in wheelchairs, including school students, and anyone who needs a ride.
“MOTOH has been around for at least 30 years,” Lemoine said. The senior group started it when they wanted to get a bus but they found out it was too great of an expense for them. So they formed a committee and still today we have a committee that operates MOTOH for the community.”
Fundraising is a constant necessity as the service operates at a loss.
“We run a deficit every month,” says Lemoine. “We can cover about a third of the cost, but we have people that donate to us all the time and we apply for government grants. We have school kids that we pick up and take to school every day, so that helps as well.”
Lemoine says that MOTOH provides rides for disabled individuals and seniors for things such as appointments.
He says that roughly three-quarters of the clients MOTOH serves are seniors and the organization provides around 400 rides per month.
Those who donated $1,500 or more toward the cost of the new vehicle will have their name put on the back of the bus when MOTOH applies their decals.
Lemoine adds that businesses in Moosomin were very generous in their donations which helped them purchase the new vehicle.
Spencer Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator