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.