Rural areas have unique challenges to finding cost-effective transportation services that are accessible to most residents and Haliburton County is no exception. Sprawling across over 4000km2 and with a low population density, our community does not have the same concentrated ridership that urban centers rely on to help offset costs with user-paid fares. Additionally, our region does not revolve around one city centre but rather consists of several smaller communities whose residents have established travel routes to different larger towns (such as Cardiff to Bancroft, Dorset to Huntsville, Minden to Lindsay, Haliburton to Peterborough, Carnarvon to Bracebridge, etc).
Community Transportation is a way of addressing the transportation challenges in rural areas with solutions that use a community’s assets in order to meet the transportation needs of the majority of residents. This might mean building partnerships to better knit together existing services or offering a blended bus service that mixes a fixed route (regular bus stops and schedule) with a demand-response (pre-booked with special pick up locations) options. In some communities, community transportation plans include using school buses for public transit before or after school runs or promoting and using ridesharing and car sharing initiatives to help folks get around.
In essence, Community Transportation is about viewing the issues of staying connected and having access to affordable and accessible transport as being critical to the vibrancy of small town life and the health of its people. It works from the belief that a successful transportation plan pays for itself in social return by improving the health and well-being of community members and supporting local economic development (community transportation is for workers and tourists, too!). Community Transportation allows residents to fully participate in society and is a vital link to health care, basic personal needs and social and recreational inclusion.
Many Community Transportation solutions are also environmentally-friendlier options to conventional car travel; it is more often than not thinking smarter about how to fill empty seats in existing vehicles rather than putting additional vehicles with all their carbon emissions on the road. This also helps to make Community Transportation more affordable, both to our local government as well as to the rider.
For more locally relevant information on Community Transportation and Community Transportation initiatives, please check out the Resources and Information page.