Brooks announces regional transportation pilot project

By Charles Lefebvre
January 25, 2019 - 8:30am Updated: January 25, 2019 - 2:54pm

BROOKS, AB — The City of Brooks has announced a pilot project aimed at making it easier for residents to travel to Medicine Hat for doctor’s appointments.

The city and the County of Newell announced a transportation project on Thursday, offering a route residents can book to travel between Brooks and Medicine Hat. The service will be available starting February 13.

Medical bookings will take priority, the release states, although residents are able to book the ride for other services as well.

Grasslands Regional Family and Community Support Services were among the organizations involved in bringing the project to the region.

“Grasslands Regional FCSS did research and a follow up community forum in 2014 to identify what existed for transportation, and what the gaps were in transportation for Brooks and all of the surrounding communities,” said Lynn Pye-Matheson, executive director of the organization, over the phone on Friday.

The service will run on Wednesdays, with the schedule arranged with local physicians to ensure coordination with service dates and patient appointments.

“In speaking with the local medical community, there is a confirmed need for a service to transport individuals to a number of medical or mental health facilities in Medicine Hat,” says City of Brooks Deputy CAO Amanda Peterson in a news release. “This project will be run on a trial basis and then an end strategy will be contemplated by the collaborating partners.”

Pye-Matheson says transportation to appointments in Medicine Hat was identified as a gap in service, and says the new pilot project can help close that gap.

“Anytime you do research, and turn it into action, and work with communities and municipalities, it’s always really exciting to see something positive, in terms of working towards meeting a need,” she said.

The bus will leave from the JBS Canada Centre in Brooks at 8 a.m., and will leave Medicine Hat at 3 p.m., returning to the JBS Canada Centre. Costs for a one-way trip at $10, with round trips costing $20.

The project, according to a news release, is funded through a regional collaboration grant from the provincial government.

People will be transferred in miniature buses owned by the City of Brooks and the County of Newell

Pye-Matheson says the grant will last until March 2020.

The project will be assessed, and if demand exceeds expected usage, the city and the County of Newell will prepare a plan to ensure the service can continue without minimal interruption.

More info can be found here. 

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