Rural Rides hopes for piece of federal transportation funding, says manager

·2 min read
Executive manager Kelly Taylor says Rural Rides could use federal funding.  ( - image credit)
Executive manager Kelly Taylor says Rural Rides could use federal funding. ( - image credit)

A volunteer-based drive service in the rural Moncton area is hoping it will get a slice of the money Ottawa is setting aside for rural transportation.

The federal government announced Monday $250 million in funding over five years for rural transportation, and Kelly Taylor, the executive manager of Rural Rides, wants a piece.

"It's very exciting, especially the idea that it could be a locked-in five-year commitment," Taylor told Information Morning Moncton on Tuesday.

"The sky's the limit when you're talking about rural transportation. There's never an end to the need and there's never an end to the opportunities for how we can help people."

Rural Rides offers low-cost drives, with the help of volunteers, to those who can't afford taxi rides to medical appointments and essential services.

Taylor said the funding could help the charity become wheelchair accessible and expand its services outside of the Westmorland County and Albert County communities it serves.

It would also make it less reliant on making grant applications, something that takes a lot of time and effort, "so we can just focus on helping people and not focus on where we're going to get the money to do that," said Taylor.

She said Rural Rides depends on funding and support from Tele-Drive Albert County, the Economic Inclusion Corporation, the Regional Service Commission, grants from municipalities, private donations and support from the Volunteer Centre of Southeastern New Brunswick.

Rural Rides drives about 100 people per week to medical appointments and essential services.
Rural Rides drives about 100 people per week to medical appointments and essential services.(Tori Weldon/CBC)

Taylor said the service can only offer 100 rides per week, and without it, those people would simply not get to where they need to go.

"Sadly, in many cases, they would just go without and that's a horrible thing to think about," she said.

"People need to get to medical care, people need to get to the foodbank, the grocery store."

Taylor said Rural Rides' services are even more critical as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout moves ahead, to ensure that everyone who wants a vaccine can access it.

The rural transportation funding is a part of a $15 billion investment into public transit, which was announced in February.