News release

Dial-A-Ride in Annapolis County

The following is a feature story from Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations on Dial-A-Ride Nova Scotia.


Transportation services for residents in rural communities help to keep communities alive. This is particularly true in areas like Annapolis County, where a relatively small population is spread out over a large area and where a higher proportion of the population is elderly.

"If people can't get out, businesses close, jobs are lost, real estate bottoms out and you have a community that in the end will die," said VickiLynn Spriggs, co-ordinator of the Dial-A-Ride program in Bridgetown. "The program gives people back their lives."

The Annapolis County Alternative Transportation Society (ACATS), which oversees the Dial-A-Ride program, started providing rides in April 2000, and volunteer drivers now provide about 800 rides a month. It helps seniors, people on low incomes, people with disabilities, and, just recently, has started helping youth at risk.

The transportation service has also given seniors their independence and allows them to be able to continue to live in their own homes and communities.

"Without the service, seniors can't maintain their basic health care. They get very sick and end up in the hospital," said Ms. Spriggs. "The more we bring people out, the better for the person, the community, the economy."

Dial-A-Ride Nova Scotia provides transportation services for Nova Scotians who need safe, affordable and accessible transportation. It offers a wide range of services, including wheelchair- accessible vehicles for people with special mobility needs.

In areas where there are Dial-A-Ride programs, the service can pick up residents at home, take them where they need to go and return them later in the day. It is essential for those who cannot afford transportation by other means to travel to medical appointments, job interviews and other activities.

Up to one-third of the funding for Dial-A-Ride comes from the provincial government, while non-profit community-based organizations raise the rest of the funds.

"This service is helping to improve the lives of many Nova Scotians and we're proud to take part in it," said Angus MacIsaac, Minister of Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. "We're grateful to volunteers and community organizations who have come together to make it happen."

More information about Dial-A-Ride Nova Scotia is available on the Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Web site, at www.gov.ns.ca/snsmr/dialaride , or the toll-free hotline at 1- 877-305-RIDE (7433).

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Contact:

Rene Frigault
Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations 902-424-2088 E-mail:
njm            July 8, 2002        9:19 A.M.