© Brian Simpson, government of P.E.I.
Fisheries Minister Gail Shea hands over the keys to a new vehicle in Transportation West's fleet. Left to right: Gordon Wooder, board member of Transportation West; Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Member of Parliament for Egmont; Honourable Robert Vessey, PEI Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal; Gordon Bush, Manager of Transportation West.
ALBERTON — One of the interesting things about Transportation West’s new buses, explains one of the non-profit organization’s drivers, Louanne Gavin, is the passenger seats can be flipped up out of the way or left down, depending on how many wheelchairs are onboard.
Transportation West took possession of two new 12-passenger vehicles on Christmas Eve. Recently, Egmont MP Gail Shea and P.E.I. Transportation Minister Robert Vessey were on hand to officially hand over the keys of the vehicles.
The Government of Canada, through the federal Gas Tax Fund, contributed $132,359 towards the purchase of the new buses, leaving Transportation West responsible for covering the HST cost, $18,530, some of which will be refunded.
“We are proud to invest in accessible transit service on the Island and support significant infrastructure projects, such as this one, that help create jobs and build strong, prosperous communities across Canada,” said Shea.
“One of the things that everybody needs is transportation. Without access to transportation, participation in a lot of activities is not possible,” Shea acknowledged, noting transportation helps move people to medical appointments, to Maplewood Manor’s Welcome Program and it even transports some people to work.
“It’s a situation that many people find themselves in if they have a disability and, for most, the inaccessibility of public transport leaves them reliant on family and friends, and a lot of times family and friends can’t provide the service because they just don’t have the means.
“Transportation West provides the community with accessible transportation all year round and they provide a service that is so valuable to this community,” said Shea, in pointing to a lack of taxi service in western Prince County.
Vessey also commented on the vital service Transportation West has been providing in the region.
Gord Wooder, a board member for Transportation West, said the non-profit was able to obtain its first two buses with the support of a large donation and its next two sets of buses with funds from the Gas Tax.
Transportation West has six drivers who help keep the wheelchair accessible buses moving.