City Council has voted to apply for funding to paratransit services, like the Border City Connects. The Transit Assistance for People with Disabilities (TAPD) Grant from the Government of Saskatchewan helps municipalities support the operation of transit services for those with disabilities.
Most municipalities in Saskatchewan manage their own paratransit service. Border City Connects is unique in that it manages its own service, meaning it’s not typically eligible for this type of grant. The application going through the city means the BCC will be transferred any money received through the grant. Executive director of the BCC, Glenn Fagnan, says the grant will be a big deal considering the vehicles that have recently been written off.
“We had three units that were written off, the last two in the last couple months. So it’s very important that we have the dollars to fund those because of course, we didn’t get the amount of dollars back that we initially lost to replace them,” says Fagnan.
The grant funds 75% of the cost to replace vehicles, up to $55,000. The estimated cost of a replacement vehicle is between $90,000 and $150,000. A fire last May meant a number of vehicles had to be written off. Fagnan says that it’s especially difficult to find replacement vehicles because of a lack of good, used busses.
“Most of them are owned by municipalities. They get them on a ten-year plan, and they wait until ten years, so they’re all old. We had to get a unit out of the States, and it’s a 2016. It has 10,000 km on it. We’re pretty excited.”
Fagnan says that use of BCC is increasing every year. Last year, BCC did more than 16,000 trips helping residents with mobility issues travel to appointments and church, get groceries and enjoy the city.