Friday, December 24, 2010

Rocky View Handi Bus - Home

Rocky View Handi Bus : Holiday Hours

December 27 - Dec 31. The office is closed and buses are off the road. If you are making a booking for January, leave a message with a phone number as we will be checking for messages.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Profile of Albertans with Disabilities

About two years ago, we stumbled on a document titled "a profile of Albertan's with Disabilities. we provided a link and have recently discovered that the file is no longer on the Government of Alberta website ( please hold your surprise)

We found it again at the legislature's website:

New handi bus needed for seniors/disabled - Vermilion Standard - Alberta, CA

New handi bus needed for seniors/disabled - Vermilion Standard - Alberta, CA: "New handi bus needed for seniors/disabled
Dec 15, 2010

Susan Hodges
Vermilion Standard
After working hard to raise the $85,560 for a new handi bus the Vermilion Handi Bus Society has found itself about $22,000 short of its goal."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

mae commitment News 2 - December 14, 2010: "Handi-bus service will continue
Town makes commitment to continue service despite county pulling out of transportation committee

tim bryant
News Staff
Westlock residents who rely on the Westlock and District Transportation Committee's handi-bus to get around town do not have to worry they will be left out in the cold, said town manager Darrell Garceau.

"It will be business as usual effective January 1st," he said.

With the county choosing to opt out of the service starting Jan. 1, 2011, there was a chance the service could change. Not so, said Garceau.

"Nothing's going to change," he said. "Those people who make use of the service today will be able to make use of the service in the same fashion."

At the moment, Garceau said he believes there is only one customer of the service who does not live within town limits. He would not say what will happen to those county residents who use the service, other than to say the committee would need to "revisit" the issue to avoid leaving people in the lurch.

"We're going to have to have a serious look at the transportation system outside of Westlock," he said, adding it's not cost effective to send the bus to Fawcett, for example, for a single passenger.

With the change in the composition of the committee, there are a lot of details that still need to be figured out, but they are working on them, he said. A more concrete plan will be made available in January and February.

The handi-bus service runs at a yearly deficit, Garceau said. The service used to be a recipient of an unconditional grant, but that has been discontinued, leaving the service reliant on fares and subsidies from the town.

It currently has an operating expenditure of close to $84,000, which covers the two buses, drivers, insurance, maintenance and fuel.

On the revenue side, the fares collected total close to $32,000, Garceau said.

Moving forward, Garceau said the committee is giving consideration to look into an urban transit system in town that would be available to all citizens, not just those using the on-call service."

Monday, September 20, 2010

Handibus looks for funding

Handibus looks for funding
Cochrane handibus service will make the full transition from the Big Hill Senior Citizens Activity Society (BHSCAS) to the Rocky View Regional Handibus (RVRH) Society at the end of September.

The BHSCAS is stepping down after 30 years of service because of the high cost of gas and repairs, as well as many of the society’s hard working volunteers looking to retire.
General Manager, Paul Siller said RVRH received an Alberta Lotteries grant to help with the transition but said there is still a lot of work to do.

Siller was at the Cochrane town council meeting Sept. 13 to discuss how the transition is coming along and to request extra funding be added to the 2011 budget deliberations.

For the last seven years, the town has given BHSCAS an annual grant of $25,000.

RVRH is looking to increase that to $40,000.

Because of the many volunteer drivers the BHSCAS had, a large portion of the funding for RVRH drivers will go to wages.

Funds will also go to maintenance and other costs.

RVRH has already taken over booking for handibus services in Cochrane. The toll free number for making a booking is 1-877-389-2887

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rocky View Handibus Society expands | Rvw - Local News | Rocky View Weekly

Rocky View Handibus Society expands | Rocky View Weekly:

Aug 17, 2010 By Dawn Smith | Rocky View Weekly

Rocky View Handibus Society is preparing to take over handibus operations in Cochrane and the surrounding area, adding three buses to its fleet of 11. The Big Hill Senior Citizens Activity Society, a non-profit organization, has been providing transportation mainly for seniors in Cochrane since 1980.

Despite the group’s recent accolades, including winning the Volunteer Group of the Year award from the Cochrane Chamber of Commerce, founder Maureen Wills says it’s time for the group to retire.

In October, the group contacted Rocky View Handibus’ General Manager Paul Siller to see if the organization would consider taking over operations.

“I’ve known Paul for years, we’ve been on the same committees searching for funding and if anyone can takeover and provide the same compassion, care and respect for our people, he can,” said Wills.

Although direction and administration will be taken over by the Rocky View organization by the end of September, many of the faces will stay the same in Cochrane.

“We are taking over the big picture stuff and the same team will still be driving the buses,” said Siller, adding that Wills and other key people plan to stay on in an advisory role.

Siller said users can expect the same level of service, with the core vision remaining the same. However, upcoming changes include bookings taken through a toll-free number. Fare rates will likely stay the same, said Siller.

Currently, Rocky View handibus operates mainly on the east side of Rocky View county. This expansion represents a 20 per cent increase in the service area.

Siller admits there will be a learning curve as they get used to the travel habits of area residents, but he remains optimistic.

Further changes will include a broader scope of rider eligibility, he added.

Between 150 and 200 people, mainly seniors, use handibus services from Cochrane and the surrounding area. Cochrane’s four local buses provide about 4,000 trips per year. For bookings, call 1-877-389-2887.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Handibus goes regional - Cochrane Times - Alberta, CA

Handibus goes regional - Cochrane Times - Alberta, CA:

Handibus goes regional
By Sara Francis
Aug 11, 2010

Cochrane's handibus service has changed hands.
Rocky View Regional Handibus Society took over management of the Cochrane handibus from the Big Hill Senior Citizens Activity Society last week.

Patrons are now asked to call a new toll-free phone number for bookings — 1-877-389-2887.

"The old number will still get an answer and probably refer people to the new number," said Paul Siller, general manager of the Rocky View Regional Handibus Society. "It's the first real tangible sign of the change."

The Cochrane handibus provides local trips primarily for seniors and some people with disabilities who, without transportation, are often shut-in and isolated.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Handibus switches gears

Handibus switches gears

Since 1980, the handibus has been run by volunteers from the Big Hill Senior Citizens Activity Society, but now it will be the Rocky View Regional Handibus Society making stops.

Big Hill Senior Citizens Activity Society founder Maureen Wills announced last year that after 30 years it’s time for the group to step aside as many of the society’s hard-working members are looking to retire. She also said gas and repair costs are soaring and it’s harder to find drivers and funding.

“When you performed a service like this . . . you become friends with the riders,” said Wills. “We just want them to know the service will not be interrupted.”

Friday, July 09, 2010

Rocky View Handibus adds to its fleet | Rvw - Local Entertainment | Rocky View Weekly

Rocky View Handibus adds to its fleet | Rvw - Local Entertainment | Rocky View Weekly: "Rocky View Handibus adds to its fleet
Jul 06, 2010 12:53 pm | By Dawn Smith | Rocky View Weekly
Local retired auctioneer Dick Teske donated the funds to purchase a new bus for Rocky View Handibus.
“It was a really gigantic show of support from Mr. Teske,” said Paul Siller, general manager of Rocky View Handibus. “We are really excited he picked us to leave a legacy.”
Siller said the donation came at the optimal time.
“It’s a relief to finally get this new bus on the road especially as one of our oldest buses is overdue for retirement,” said Siller. “It is nice and shiny and new and is designed to be multifunctional.”"

Monday, June 14, 2010

Rocky View Weekly Newspaper - Handibus earns praise for expanding service - May 18, 2010. The newspaper for communities north of Calgary, Alberta.

Rocky View Weekly Newspaper - Handibus earns praise for expanding service - May 18, 2010. The newspaper for communities north of Calgary, Alberta.: "Handibus earns praise for expanding service
Dawn Smith, Rocky View Publishing

Rocky View Regional Handibus is being praised for its efforts to serve a greater segment of the community.

The organization’s general manger Paul Stiller was invited to speak at this year’s Canadian Urban Transit Association’s (CUBA) annual conference, in Ottawa, May 17-19.

'It was really cool to find out that what we do is breaking new ground and being asked to talk about it,' said Siller.

Since 2004, Rocky View’s Handibus, a 10-bus operation that covers north and east portions of Rocky View as well as Chestermere and Langdon, has expanded its definition of what it means to be disabled...."

Busing society still in transition, receives funding - Cochrane Times - Alberta, CA

Busing society still in transition, receives funding - Cochrane Times - Alberta, CA:

"Transportation services for seniors and disabled residents in Cochrane and Rocky View County will continue to be funded.

The Big Hill Seniors Citizens Activity Society received a recommendation for $20,000 from Rocky View council during a public services committee meeting May 18.

This is the same amount they got last year from the County's specialized transportation budget to subsidize transportation costs for seniors or people with disabilities attending medical or therapeutic appointments.

This recommendation comes as the Society tries to transfer its operations to the Rocky View Regional Handibus Society (RVRHS)as early as September, or at least before year-end."

See the rest of the article
Busing society still in transition, receives funding

Saturday, May 22, 2010

New handibus now on order - Taber Times

New handibus now on order - Taber Times: "New handibus now on order
Local Content - Local News
Written by Garrett Simmons
Wednesday, 19 May 2010 14:00

What started off as a calculated risk for the Taber Handibus Association, turned into confirmation of town support for a new bus.

At council’s May 10 meeting, Peter Rozendaal, the association’s president, alerted council of the handibus’ decision to put a $10,000 deposit on a 2009, eight-passenger bus."

Rozendaal added the bus came with a $58,800 price tag, which included a full tank of fuel, a safety sticker and transportation to Taber. He expected the bus to be in town in just over a month.

But while the deal might have been there for the taking, many on council were surprised the purchase was made without the approval of council.

“Have we given the association the authority to buy the bus?” questioned Coun. Terry Sargeant.

“I find it rather difficult someone put down $10,000 before the purchase was approved,” added Coun. Garth Bekkering.

According to Rozendaal, the handibus association board felt it was prudent to move the issue forward as quickly as possible.

“We felt it was important to make a move. We had to move on it and get it ordered. We felt the urgent need to satisfy the needs of wheelchair-bound Taberites.”

Mayor Ray Bryant called the move a risky one, which in the end paid off for the association, as council unanimously agreed to a motion which will see the town give the association a capital grant in the amount of $61,740.

Rozendaal added he was not aware the association did not follow the proper protocol in the bus purchase.

“It was not brought to my attention we needed council approval. Actually, it floors me we needed council approval,” he said, and added the issue of approval did not come up in a prior meeting with the town manager.

Council also unanimously passed a motion for the handibus association to come back to council, no later than the first council meeting in August, to discuss irregularities in the association’s budget, which showed a deficit of nearly $18,000.

Bekkering questioned the budgeted amount of $11,000 for fuel in 2010, a figure Rozendaal agreed was also too high.

“It’s never been over $9,000 in a year,” he said, and added that was when the price of gas was much higher.

Sargeant raised the point of a $6,500 expense for additional expenses, which Rozendaal said he would look into.

The handibus association president had some good news for council, as he added the association’s board has been working on a fundraising drive.

“In the last three weeks, several board members have spoken to various service clubs,” who Rozendaal added were willing to look at the association’s situation. “The clubs are looking to help us when we get a functioning board in place.”

New board members have stepped up to take on some of the association’s responsibilities.

“I believe we are moving in the right direction,” said Rozendaal. “However, there’s lots of work left.”

Bryant added he was pleased to hear the association is applying for a grant under the Community Initiatives Program, in an attempt to decrease the budget shortfall. With further help from the community, Rozendaal added things should work out for the association.

“We do have some donations coming in. I am confident with the response we are getting and the grant, we should be able to work this out this year.”

Monday, May 17, 2010

Opening breakfast and welcoming remarks

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Handibus sighting in ottawa

Look what they use

Going to the "Show"

After attending meetings of the Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) for many I've been asked to give two presentations. Even sitting here at the hotel, I'm still a little surprized that I people tink I know what I'm doing.

Conference program

May 16
With the aging of the population and growing needs for access and mobility, small and rural communities will face increasing challenges in assuring that the lack of conventional public transit does not exclude their residents from access to economic, social and educational opportunities. In this unique session, short examples from micro and rural transit services across Canada will be followed by open discussion on the issues facing these communities.

John King, Lethbridge Transit (Alberta) and
CUTA Vice Chair – Small Transit Systems
Ron Mullins, Kings Transit (Nova Scotia)
Thérèse Domingue, Association des transports collectifs
ruraux du Québec (ATCRQ)
Mary McCuaig, North Glengarry Prescott Russell
Transport Board (Ontario)
Pat Scrimgeour, OC Transpo (Ottawa)
Paul Siller, Rocky View Handi Bus (Alberta)
Dave Guthrie, BC Transi

May 18
Session 14: Customer Service (ATW) (SI)
Customer service is an important part of the transit
industry’s conventional and specialized services. A
presentation will outline how the introduction of new
technologies has permitted to not only streamline
operations, but has also provide new benefits to
customers. Learn how the built environment in our
communities can be a barrier to offering accessible
transit services. A presentation will follow on service
animals. Finally, the challenges and opportunities of
accessible services outside the urban core will be shared.

Wes Woods, Crestline Coach
Joanne Moss, Canadian Foundation for Animal Assisted
Support Services
Paul Siller, Rocky Mountain View Handy-Bus
Lorna Stewart, Edmonton Transit System

I'll try to have some posts from the conference.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Taber handibus in jeopardy

Taber handibus in jeopardy

Written by Garrett Simmons
Wednesday, 24 March 2010 13:19

It might be less handy for seniors to get to where they want to go in the near future.

That is because the future of the Taber Handibus is very much up in the air. Jeannette Payne, the secretary-treasurer of the Taber Handibus Association, said recent events have conspired to put the operation of the bus in jeopardy.

According to Payne, the association has been informed by the Alberta government the Town of Taber will no longer be receiving a transportation grant. That means the association will not be receiving operating funds from the town. Coupled with the fact the handibus also lost the support of the Horizon School Division (which total $50,000), as the bus is not transporting any special-needs Horizon students to school this year, the financial position of the association is at a critical level, she added.

Payne said the budget for the handibus is about $60,000 per year, and added about $10,000 to $12,000 is taken in per year from fares.

As a result, Payne added the association is applying for an operating grant through the Community Initiatives Program (CIP). As a result, the association is seeking letters of support from the community, along with financial donations to help keep the bus afloat. Just as importantly, Payne added members are also needed to sit on the association’s board.

“We’re desperate — we’re going to loose two members, voting members, very soon,” said Payne, who added the board currently has six members. “If we don’t have it (a board), we’ll loose our member society status.”

As a result, a meeting has been set for March 30 at 7 p.m. in the Blue Room of the Taber Community Centre to discuss the association’s
situation, which has become increasingly bleak over the last few months, much to Payne’s disappointment.

“We were doing so well for the last two years and then, all of this happened.”

Should the handibus not receive more funding, or should the board not be able to come up with enough members to survive, the handibus would face the prospect of shutting down, something Payne added would negatively impact seniors.

“Senior citizens are not going to have the service that is the low-cost value for them,” she said, and added some low-income families in Taber also benefit from the handibus in special circumstances, along with seniors age 55 and over and those with special needs.
At this point, Payne added there is about $12,000 in the bank account for the handibus, a total which will not last long without additional support.

The CIP grant would total anywhere from $30,000-$35,000 she added, would have to be matched through either volunteer hours, in-kind donations and financial contributions.

Payne said the association is also willing to put advertising on the bus to raise extra income.

But it could all be moot if March 30 does not drum up some more interest in the association and its board.

“It is absolutely necessary they come to the March 30 meeting, so we can come up with some solutions,” said Payne, who added another complication has also risen for the handibus.

Earlier this month, on March 10, the handibus collided with a school bus early in the morning east of Barnwell.

The handibus was a write off after the head-on collision, according to Payne. She added the association is now waiting for its insurance company and the RCMP to wrap up their work before anything further will be known, and if the bus can be replaced.

For more information on the meeting, writing a letter of support or donating to the association, contact Payne at 403-223-4609 or the handibus dispatch number at 403-223-2224

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Fraud prevention month

This quiz and the associated contest is presented by CanadaHelps, a legitimate Charity that helps other charities with online donations.

Rocky View Regional Handibus encourages you to take the quiz, and learn about fraud.

(We encourage you to nominate the charity of your choice)

Charity Fraud Awareness Quiz

Capital One and CanadaHelps Invite You to Take Our Charity Fraud Awareness Quiz To Earn a Chance to Win $20,000 to Donate To the Charity of Your Choice.

Capital One and CanadaHelps want to educate Canadians on how to identify false charities so their generous donations don't end up in fraudsters’ hands.

By being diligent and asking the right questions, Canadians can confidently support those causes that are near and dear to their hearts, while protecting themselves from fraud and ID theft.

Take the Charity Fraud Awareness Quiz to learn about charity fraud. If you complete the quiz, you will automatically be entered into a draw to win a weekly prize of $1,000 and a grand prize of $20,000, courtesy of Capital One, to be donated to a charity of your choice!

The contest starts on Monday, March 1, 2010 and ends on Wednesday, March 31, 2010.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

CBC News - Ottawa - Disabled lose Ottawa bus fight

The scrum for space on a low-floor transit bus is increasing. Oddly enough, while wheelchairs drove the design of a low-floor bus, it turns out that the features that provide easy access extend to a larger audience. now we got more people on the bus than ever before....

... but some can only manage on certain seats.

CBC News - Ottawa - Disabled lose Ottawa bus fight

Senior and disabled transit riders appear to have lost a bid to win more ground at the front of the bus from stroller-pushing parents.

On Wednesday, the city's transit committee decided not to vote on recommendations brought forward by advisory groups representing seniors and people with disabilities on managing the priority seating at the front of the bus. Instead, the committee chose to send an earlier staff recommendation on its transit stroller policy to city council.

Under that policy, people with young children in strollers are allowed to use the priority seating area reserved for people who have difficulty standing, including people in wheelchairs and scooters, people on crutches, seniors and pregnant women. However, drivers can ask parents to collapse their strollers and give up their seat to people in wheelchairs and seniors.

Read more:

Read more:

Friday, February 19, 2010

There was a book?

All that effort could have been ameliorated with this book ( if it

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Red Deer AB : "Action bus changes eyed"

Action bus changes eyed

By Laura Tester - Red Deer Advocate

Published: January 22, 2010 6:50 AM
Service levels for Red Deer’s Action Buses will remain the same in 2010 despite an increase in the number of handicapped people needing the service.

As a way to cut costs during slow economic growth, Red Deer Transit decided not to add more buses in the city.

Howard Maki, special transportation operations supervisor, expects an impact will be felt because user numbers rise monthly.

The service averages four passengers per hour, one of the highest levels in Canada, Maki said.

“With our current fleet, we can’t really take more people out,” said Maki. “So we’ll probably experience more turn-downs.”

more at:
Red Deer Advocate

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Financial Assistance for Students with Permanent Disabilities

Found this by accident but thought folks should know about it.

Financial Assistance for Students with Permanent Disabilities:

Beginning in fall 2009, new financial assistance measures will be introduced to help more students with permanent disabilities attend university, college or trade school. They include:

Recognizing previous assessments of permanent disability. Students will not have to send in documentation repeatedly.

Treating all borrowers with permanent disabilities by eliminating time restrictions on forgiveness of loans issued from 1995 to 2000 (risk-shared loans).

We also noticed:

Any new Canada Student Grants which you may be eligible to receive including:
- $2,000 per school year for students with permanent disabilities, as assessed by their province or territory of permanent residence.
- Up to $8,000 per school year for the Grant for Services and Equipment for Students with Permanent Disabilities. This grant covers exceptional education-related costs associated with a student’s disability"

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Cochrane Handibus to Hand Over Keys

Society looking to hand over keys
Posted January 6, 2010
Cochrane Times

After 30 years in operation, the woman who has led the Senior Citizens Activities Society says its time for someone else to take over.

Maureen Wills, long a volunteer in Cochrane for many organizations, started the busing society back in 1980. When she launched the organization three decades ago, things were far different.

Cochrane had only a few thousand residents following construction of many homes in the Glenbow subdivision in 1980, gasoline was cheap, insurance costs were a fraction of the busing service's cost and Wills admits, everyone was 30 years younger.

For those reasons, and many more, Wills and the society's volunteer board have decided to transition the handi-bus society to new operators during 2010.

"It's time. There comes a time for everything," Wills said. "We are finding it hard to get younger people on the board and all the drivers, we have done it all this time, we need to retire."

More at: Cochrane Times