The City of Grande Prairie is in need of regional public transportation that is accessible for persons with disabilities. Regional Program Coordinator Mieke de Groot says that although bus services have been available for people in the region, few of them have been accessible for persons with disabilities.
“Every now and then there might be a bus line, so right now we have Cold Shot, which takes people through the region. Unfortunately Cold Shot is not an accessible bus.”
“In the past, we’ve had Northern Express, Greyhound, but those are not accessible bus services. Due to the pandemic, the Red Arrow bus line, which is accessible, had to shut down,” she says.
de Groot says she is grateful for accessible bus services that have been available in the past, de Groot says that even though those services are available, they still have their limitations.
“The other issue is that even with Red Arrow, for example, they only come up to Grande Prairie and don’t go up to high level. Even Cold Shot doesn’t go up to high level, it stops at Peace River,” she says.
Not only is transportation an issue locally for residents with disabilities, traveling throughout the province for health care services has proven to be a huge challenge.
“People who are trying to access health centres have to take pretty drastic actions to get from point A to point B. At one point, we got Angels with Wings to help transport people, which is an organization of doctors that own their own airplanes,” de Groot says.
On March 27th, 2020, Red Arrow announced it would be closing all bus services across Alberta.