Strait Area Transit considers expanding into Victoria County

STRAIT AREA: Last week, the folks at Strait Area Transit visited with municipal leaders in Victoria County, and the topic of discussion was expanding the local busing service into new territory.

“Council is on board,” said Jessie MacDonald, executive director of Strait Area Transit.

“They understand the needs for transit, and they feel that from their constituents too,” she said. “The warden is going to get in contact with members of the provincial government and see if we can secure some funding for an April 1 start date.

“The provincial government noted four gaps across the province where transportation is lacking, and Victoria County is one of them.”

She and John Dowling, the chair of the board for SAT, appeared before Victoria County Council on Monday, September 24.

Dowling said the Victoria expansion would be a natural one, considering it shares a county line with Inverness County, one of the three municipalities now served by SAT.

“They are lacking in that capacity, and we’re rural transit,” he said. “With the exception of Baddeck, everything is fairly rural there. I think it could work out for a lot of people.”

Both MacDonald and Dowling said SAT is well-established, as the transport services was set-up in 2007. Taking on an additional county is certainly doable.

“We have our system in place, so it would just be taking on a bit more,” MacDonald said.

While the busing service may expand into Victoria, the fleet expanded last August with the addition of a brand new 17-passenger bus. The new vehicle is wheelchair accessible.

A new 17-passenger bus runs in the neighbourhood of $100,000, and the provincial government took care of 75 per cent of the bill.