Strait Area Transit, Antigonish Community Transit change operations

PORT HAWKESBURY: Two community public transportation services had to temporarily suspended their services until further notice.

Strait Area Transit (SAT) serving Inverness County, Richmond County and the Town of Port Hawkesbury, along with Antigonish Community Transit (ACT) – which services the Municipality of the County of Antigonish and runs a town route – had to swiftly and drastically change their business operations in light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

“The decision to suspend SAT was very difficult but a necessary step,” John Downling, SAT chairperson told The Reporter. “SAT wanted to get ahead of the virus and by doing so took the lead for other rural transits across Nova Scotia without direction from the province.”

Following the lead of provincial and federal officials with the now-required heightened health and safety measures, SAT and ACT both imposed their own shutdowns effective March 20.

The shutdown will affect roughly 12 employees, Downling siad.

“The safety of staff and clients are paramount at this time,” SAT said in a statement. “And although this may cause some inconvenience, the board of directors and executive director feel this is a necessary measure to contain the spread of coronavirus.”

Before the order to shutdown school’s across the province SAT was moving anywhere from 150 to 200 riders per day but those numbers dropped sibstaintially by 90 per cent or more within days.

For any questions regarding SAT’s suspension of services, clients can contact Dowling at: john.dowling@invernesscounty.ca.

As part of SAT’s service, Victoria County Transit (VCT) will also be suspending their services until further notice.

In Antigonish, officials with ACT indicate there is no scheduled re-start date at this time, however they’re still providing some transit assistance during their temporary suspension.

“Our book-a-ride service will continue for essential services only,” ACT staff said.

To schedule ACT’s book-a-ride service, call or text (902) 867–0411 a day prior by 1:00 p.m.

The Public Health Agency of Canada maintains a list of affected areas at: https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/health-professionals/covid-19-affected-areas-list.html.