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More talk needed on handibus services: study

Communication is key. That was one of the main recommendations that came out of a recent study which looked at how to improve transportation options for County seniors and disabled residents needing to access city services. Grande Prairie Transit Services Manager Steve Harvard says the whole point of the study was to see what services were available and how they could run smoother.

“It was basically to look at what was out there and whether there was any way of delivering the service more efficiently and effectively. For instance, you have a bus from Beaverlodge that drives right by Wembley; could that bus potentially pop into Wembley and pick up some people. There’s an option that currently isn’t being done but it could be explored.”

The study was started by the Town of Wembley with the help the Alberta Community Partnership grant. During the six month project, a consulting group went out to each community and looked at each service, how they were operated and what the fees were.

The consulting firm then came back with recommendations including improving communication between service providers in each community and making sure the public knows what’s available to them. Harvard says they also suggested making one document including all available handibus services.

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“Prior to this, there was not really a document that was centralized that everybody could see what was going on. If you lived in Beaverlodge you knew about the Beaverlodge bus and similarly with Sexsmith but nobody actually had a sort of larger big picture of what resources were out there.”

The Town of Wembley has decided not to move forward with any changes at the moment. Over the next few months, the city plans to speak with other groups who may be interested in providing these services based on the study’s recommendations.

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