Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cochrane Eagle Online – Cochrane's Source of News and Opinion » Blog Archive » Council withdraws approval of transit

Cochrane Eagle Online – Cochrane's Source of News and Opinion » Blog Archive » Council withdraws approval of transit:

but not all happy

Issues of transportation seem to be everywhere over the past while.

On Nov. 28, council universally approved the 2012 budget for the town, but not all are happy with how things worked out, particularly the Rocky View Regional Handibus Society (RVRHS).

Requesting $69,000 from the town to help fund a service that transports seniors and the physically impaired, RVRHS saw only $40,000 be approved in the budget by council.

“We need to know if Cochrane wants this,” said RVRHS general manager, Paul Siller. “We want a firm motion from (council) that they are in it for the long haul.”

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Government of Alberta Ministry of Transportation: Recommended Standards for Transit Buses

An incredible find to show the forward thinking nature of Alberta Government transit policies.

Believe it or not, these standards apparently have not changed since 1989. If these standards are still the benchmarch for the Alberta Government, no wonder there is so much trouble with the Bus modernization program.

Government of Alberta Ministry of Transportation: Recommended Standards for Transit Buses: Recommended Standards for Transit Buses

2011 Resolution:Provincial Scope2 Alberta Seniors Specialized Transporation

A resolution from the fall 2011 AUMA Conventions
(Might be helpful if some one in the Alberta Government actually decides to do spomething to help for a change)

2011 Resolution:Provincial Scope2 Alberta Seniors Specialized Transporation:

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association urge the Province of Alberta to provideboth operational & capital financial support to municipalities so that they can continue to provide specialized transportation for the increasing number of seniors who require this service.

Improving Travel Options in Small and Rural Communities - Transport Canada

(why didn't we hear about this before?)

Improving Travel Options in Small and Rural Communities - Transport Canada:

Improving Travel Options in Small and Rural Communities

This document is available for downloading or viewing:
HTML version
PDF Version (2.66 MB)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Transit issue goes round and round - Wetaskiwin Times Advertiser - Alberta, CA

Transit issue goes round and round - Wetaskiwin Times Advertiser - Alberta, CA:
(from the end of her letter)
... Mr. King also states: "Having a viable, sustainable transportation service for seniors and special needs individuals is currently a privilege."
I think it is a basic right.
Once again we will have to agree to disagree.
Mrs. Faith Sanderson

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A common mistake is presented by the folks at Airdrie Transit.

Many people don't feel that a transit service for seniors and disability is a form of transit.

What is called "Handibus" or Handivan" is actually "paratransit." Rocky View Regional Handibus has been operating community transit services since 1981 and is one of the first regional transit service for the Calgary region. We provide service to residents of six municipalities in the Calgary region - three of which are current members of the Calgary Municipal Partnership.

Sadly the Calgary Regional Partnership's Transit plan specifically excludes paratransit planning for residents of the Calgary Region partnership communities.

Unwanted and unloved, we continue although we are not considered to be as useful as our commuter transit counterparts (note: Alberta Greentrip also specifically excludes paratransit).

Inside Airdrie Transit: Back in the News: We're in the Airdrie Echo this week ( ) for a piece on regional transit. Currently ...

Note: We are impressed by the success of the Airdrie ICE and wish them continued success... but we still note that we do have a longer history of providing regional transit.

Google Alert - number 2

More News Coverage on our politican survey

Handibus wants support
Cochrane Eagle
The executive director of the Rocky View Handibus Society is looking
for the province to step up support for special transportation groups. ...


Google Alert - Rocky View Handibus

We have an article and an editorial regarding our survey of the politicians.

We still have not heard from any of the other parties.

Rocky View Weekly
Paul Siller, executive director of Rocky View Handi Bus (RVHB), which
provides transportation for seniors, disabled and immobilized people,
sent the six PC ...


Politicians' apathy pathetic but not surprising
Rocky View Weekly
Paul Siller, general manager of Rocky View Regional Handi Bus Society, ...
Rocky View Handi Bus transports immobile people from nearly all parts
of Rocky ...


Thursday, September 08, 2011

our comments to the only PC leadership submission on Specialized transportation

Date: Thu, 08 Sep 2011 11:24:54 -0600
From: Paul Siller
To: Jeff Henwood

Thank-you for taking to the time to answer our survey. The redford
team is the only campaign group that provided a response.

We waited until our deadline before reviewing the responses.

Unfortunately, I am a little confused by the response. It sounds that
once Alberta seniors get into nursing or seniors homes, then somehow
all medical transportation needs will cease.

Unfortunately this is directly opposed to the situation we encounter.
The residents of seniors lodges and rural nursing home are a very
large source of the demand. For example, we roughly a dozen people in
Cochrane who need transportation to cataract surgery in Calgary. 75%
are in residences or nursing homes. All of them cannot get to there
day surgeries without us ( I am not proud to say that with our limited resources, we are the transportation of last resort)

Seniors housing and seniors care facilities have no resources to
provide such transportation. The facilities call on non-profit groups
such as ourselves or the local municipality ( as happens in Ms.
Redford's home riding) and there is no provincial support to make the
connection happen.

I'm sure this is a new topic on the radar for most candidates but
special needs transportation really is a significant problem in rural
and small town Alberta (the cities struggle with it too). Generally
speaking, we are disappointed that most of the candidates didn't try
to provide an answer (the only other candidate's response is
summarized as "look at our website, we are to busy to answer")

Once again, we are grateful for your team's prompt response amongst a
severe lack of interest regarding this province wide issue. Maybe a
leadership campaign is only about selling memberships and not about
small issues that can affect 100 Alberta communities.

Best of luck in the polls.

(note: portions of this response may constitute part of our media

Response from Team Redford

on Sept 4, we recieved (what turned out to be our only response) from Team Redford:

Hi Paul, Attached is Alison Redford's response to your question regarding aging in place. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Jeff Henwood
Alison Redford Leadership Campaign
attached text

Rockyview Bus Questionnaire

1) Candidate Name and campaign contact info (phone/email):

A: Alison Redford 403-264-2001

2. Care in the community and ageing in place are critical strategies for the Alberta government. What measures or programs do you think will be necessary for "Ageing in Place" to be any different from "Stuck at home without options to access local resources?"

A: “Aging in Place” is not about leaving seniors isolated in their own homes. The strategy is meant to allow the seniors to continuously access medical services while their health and care requirements shift as they age. These changes should take place while they continue to live in the facility of their choosing, saving seniors from stressful relocations and unnecessary trips to the hospital.

My health-care policies will make “Aging in Place” a reality. I’m going to ease the regulatory framework so elder care facility operators can expands the number of beds to meet demand, with a quota system to ensure that low and middle-income seniors are able to find affordable places. I will also expand the care Alberta Health Services provides in these facilities so seniors can get the treatment they need in the comfort of familiar surroundings — aging in place.

My strategy will increase seniors’ options. They will be able to choose from a wide variety of living arrangements that match their income, lifestyles, aspirations and family structure, so married couples will no longer be split up. There will be no more long stays in hospitals, waiting for beds in retirement homes to open up. By expanding the availability of routine treatment in facilities, I will also ease the strain on special-needs transportation providers’ budgets. They will no longer have to spend time laboriously shuttling seniors to hospitals or clinics for most non-emergency medical care. Instead, they will be able to devote their time to transporting seniors to recreational activities and keeping them engaged in the community.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

first decline: 2011 Leadership Candiates

We thank you for the prompt response from Horner for Alberta team.

For purposes of openess and transparency, we are cc'ing campaign
correspondence to our blog.

On 01/09/2011 10:09 AM, wrote:
> Paul, we will not be able to respond directly to your survey due to the overwhelming number of questionnaires we have received. Please check Doug's policy page for regular updates. These should answer most of your questions.
> Sent wirelessly from my BlackBerry device on the Bell network.
> Envoyé sans fil par mon terminal mobile BlackBerry sur le réseau de Bell.

first response: 2011 Leadership

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Re: Questions For 2011 Leadership Candiates
Date: Thu, 01 Sep 2011 09:58:58 -0600
From: Paul Siller
To: Kevin Weidlich

We are posting all the answers publicly on our website. If your team
prefers not to take part, then we understand.

On 01/09/2011 9:54 AM, Kevin Weidlich wrote:
> Thanks for your email. javascript:void(0)Doug will gladly respond to your questions
> publically. Please post your questions to Doug's policy section of the
> website. This way we can have an open discussion.
> Regards,
> Horner Campaign Team

Questions for 2011 Leadership Candidates


Leadership 2011
It is an exciting time in Alberta. Six people are vying for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party of Alberta. The Alberta Liberal Party is also going through a leadership campaign.

With all this campaigning, we thought it would be an opportune time to see if candidates have solutions for the groups across Alberta that provide community transportation and transit. We have prepared a backgrounder and four simple questions for candidates to contemplate.

Policy creation is not limited to the leadership candidates. We are also circulating our questions to the New Democratic Party of Alberta, the Wildrose Party of Alberta and the fledgling Alberta party.

Results will be posted at We hope that all candidates will be able to give this issue some thought as it affects some 100 communities across Alberta.

To start the project, we will ask for a quick response from the PC party, who vote on a new leader Sept 17, 2011. We hope to have the first round of responses back by Sept 7, 2011.

A simple email response will suffice but we also have the questions in a downloadable and fillable PDF. We also have a one page backgrounder for folks new to these issues.

The questions are:
1) Candidate Name and campaign contact info (phone/email):

2) Care in the community and ageing in place are critical strategies for the Alberta government. What measures or programs do you think will be necessary for "Ageing in Place" to be any different from "Stuck at home without options to access local resources?"

3) Who should be responsible for special needs transportation being available to residents of smaller Alberta communities?

4) Do you have any other comments regarding rural and urban special needs transportation?

5) Bonus: How much does the Government of Alberta currently allocate for special needs transportation?

Return responses to:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


MOTION GROUP OF COMPANIES | CHOOSING THE RIGHT TAXI OF TOMORROW: "TORONTO, July 11, 2011 /CNW/ - Motion Group of Companies (, the Canadian distributor of the MV-1, hopes Toronto's Licensing and Standards Committee assesses the benefits of accessibility in choosing a standard taxicab for Toronto's streets."

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Town of Coaldale : News & Updates : Coaldale Handi Bus Association/Service

Town of Coaldale : News & Updates : Coaldale Handi Bus Association/Service:

Coaldale Handi Bus Association/Service

Thursday, May 19, 2011


"NOTICE is hereby given that the Coaldale & District Handibus Association is being forced to cease its operations because of lack of funding for both operational and capital purposes. Prior to the cessation of handibus services for our community we wish to conduct a meeting with potential interested stakeholders to determine the interest of our community and in particular yourselves to continuing a handibus services for the Town of Coaldale and area. This meeting will be held Tuesday, May 31, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. at Town of Coaldale Council Chambers in Coaldale, Alberta, and you are all invited to send representatives and participate in the discussion."

ed note: this seems to be a growing trend in small town Alberta

Monday, March 07, 2011

Hardisty's new handivan up and running

Hardisty's new handivan up and running:

"The 2011 Handivan has been delivered, insurance and safety tickets are in place and drivers have had orientation. The Hardisty and District Handivan Society has spent the last 10 years planning and fundraising for the $80,000 vehicle. A bid has been accepted for the 1996 Ford Para Transit Bus.

A handivan garage to store the vehicle was added to the town's firehall recently, financed by the Society, with an added contribution to the town for pavement. At the Annual General meeting on February 24, directors were nominated for the upcoming two year term: June Crone, Jim Bronson, Diane Fossum, Betty Kells, Anita Miller, Elna Botha, Virgina Weatherly and Wilf Buelow. The executive remains in place for one more year: President Ralph Manning, Vice-President John Pioker, Secretary Noreen Hill and Treasurer Belva Dosdall. The Society is in excellent financial shape, due in part to many volunteer hours, including the drivers.

There are also significant donations from the community and funding from the Community Spirit program which matches donations and other fundraising projects. Handivan programs in other communities are sometimes not as fortunate. According to a recent article in The Provost News, their "community service is in danger of closing down", even though "the group received $6,500 from the M.D. 52 (of Provost) and $6,000 from the Town of Provost in recent years. ( more at the original article

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Residents hope Council keeps bus - Peace River Record Gazette - Alberta, CA

Residents hope Council keeps bus - Peace River Record Gazette - Alberta, CA: "Residents hope Council keeps bus
By Erin Steele, Record-Gazette
Posted 18 hours ago

Concerned citizens have taken it upon themselves to find an alternative to not having a bus, come March 31.
Members from the Committee to Save the Bus filed into council chambers at Monday's meeting to present the petition with 932 signatures of tax-paying, Peace River residents, who don't want to see an end to the bus, and to ask for a six-month extension of the service."

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Ridership boost wanted for municipal service | Local News | Innisfail Province

Ridership boost wanted for municipal service Local News Innisfail Province:

Ridership boost wanted for municipal service
Tuesday, Feb 08, 2011 06:00 am By Laurie Hodges Humble

Operators of subsidized public transportation in Innisfail are trying to boost ridership to keep the service sustainable.

Ridership has waned on the municipally-owned wheelchair accessible Handi-Van, according to Eva Riddle, the Legion contact for booking the Handi-Van.

“The Handi-Van could be used more frequently. The ridership in December and January was down considerably,” she said.

The van is primarily for transporting individuals to their local doctor’s appointments and business or shopping runs, but is also available to take people to their out-of-town appointments with medical specialists.

Mayor Jim Romane said he would like to see the vans used more, as the driver is being paid.

“The town is going to take on more responsibility on the operating costs of the vans. The Legion is very good with helping with the scheduling of it. We express our appreciation to the Legion and want them to continue running the service,” said Romane.

The Town of Innisfail owns the Community Bus which is also administrated by the Legion and the Legion also has its own van available for use by youth and seniors groups......

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bus service axed - Peace River Record Gazette - Alberta, CA

Bus service axed - Peace River Record Gazette - Alberta, CA: "Town council has pulled the plug on bus service in the town of Peace River beginning March 31, terminating a contract that had almost 2.5 years to go.
According to Mayor Lorne Mann, the decision sprang from recent budget discussions where council determined the service was simply not cost-effective to the Town. He did say council plans to look at alternative options like an enhanced taxi pass service and other ways in which they can assist those who depend on the service."