Tri-Community Transit driving forward
Tuesday, May 07, 2013 06:00 am
Tri-Community Transit (TCT) officials have been working hard to make Mountain View County and area residents aware of the services that the organization offers.
The TCT pilot project is now on its second year and Paul Siller, general manager of the Rockyview Handi-Bus Society (RHS), an organization that is helping manage TCT, said the society is taking measures to move the project beyond the pilot phase.
“We started this out to test the waters and we started out with six months of funding, and you really need 24 months to see if this kind of thing will bite in a community,” said Siller.
“Now it looks like we’re going to get all the funding in place for the second half of this two-year pilot.”
The TCT initiative began last year when officials from the communities of Carstairs, Didsbury and Cremona recognized current modes of transportation available to regional residents were insufficient to meet growing needs, notably in getting citizens to Airdrie and Calgary for important medical appointments.
The TCT, which provides transportation for seniors and others, is now in the process of being transformed from a pilot project to a satellite project, he explained.
“Now that we know there’s interest, and now that we know the service is desired and municipalities are interested, we need to start putting things into place so it can operate on its own,” he said.
At the start of the pilot, the RHS was asked to help out because it has drivers and buses, as well as administrative systems in place, he explained.
“Now we’re getting into the point where we need to say, yes, we’ve got the demand, now we need to start putting the resources in so that it doesn’t really matter if RHS is involved. It leaves the options open for the project to go on into the future,” he said.
One of the hard decisions is at which point to move from a pilot project to a full-fledged service, he said.
However, once the preparations have been made, the transition should be easy, he added.
“I won’t say that we’re into the satellite project, but we’re making plans for the satellite,” he said.
“It’s the idea that instead of just proving the concept, now we’re getting into the part where it’s going to sit on its own and we start making our plans based on that.”
The TCT project is becoming more and more known in the district, he said.
“That’s a really big step, because three years ago when we were talking about this, no one was interested,” said Siller. “But now we’ve got some numbers, we’ve got some miles behind us, and it’s started moving forward.”
RHS administration is thrilled with the momentum of support TCT has been seeing in recent months, he added, so calling it a satellite is the next big step.
“We're calling it a satellite so that it can orbit by itself on its own or as part of a bigger organization. The good news is that municipalities are really starting to think about this and see how they can contribute,” he said.
For those who would like more information on TCT or would like to participate in the committee, they can call the RHS toll-free hotline at 1-877-389-2887.