Whenever I meet with social service agencies they tell me one of their most significant challenges and costs is client transportation. With over 6000 square kilometers in Perth and Huron counties, and services at a distance to the majority, it is a complex matter. But that’s where the Transportation Task Force comes in; a community conversation led by UWPH that includes leaders from social service agencies, municipalities, and the business community. After all, transportation isn’t only a challenge for the social service sector. Whether you’re a single parent that can’t afford a car to take your child to hockey, a young adult who can’t afford a car to get to work, or a senior that is unable to drive to a medical appointment, the common denominator is the need to get somewhere without a personally owned vehicle. This month the Task Force released the findings of their survey on transportation needs in the region. More than 650 people answered and the results highlight not only the challenges, but also the collective will to try new things including car-sharing and ride-sharing. You will also see the desire to improve rail service and other public transportation – all very valuable data to support others endeavouring to improve public transportation including the Canadian Federation of University Women (see their online petition and website here: www.gettingthere.ca). So, next time you get in your car and drive where you want to when you want to, think about others in your community who don’t have that luxury; think also about reframing the conversation on public transportation from one of convenience to one of need. Click here for the executive summary, info graphic and other information about this important community conversation.
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