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.”