MusGo Rider Keeps Expanding: 10,000 km a Month
MusGo Rider is on a roll! It’s just moved into its own building next door to the Porters Lake shopping centre. And the non-for-profit community cooperative’s two vehicles are racking up 10,000 kilometers a month, taking people to medical appointments and grocery shopping, or bringing people home after an evening at a bar.
This summer, the not-for-profit community cooperative is offering a brand new service on the weekends: a shuttle service from Musquodoboit Harbour down to Martinique Beach. Local residents know better than to drive down to the beach on a hot weekend day and have to struggle just to get into the park with all of the cars parked illegally on both sides of the road.
The company has been so successful in providing affordable transportation from Ship Harbour in the east to East Preston and Lawrencetown in the west that its directors have been asked to set up a similar cooperative to serve Middle Musquodoboit and Sheet Harbour.
In an interview soon after its Annual General Meeting in July, MusGo Riders’ executive director Jessie Greenough reviewed the company’s first four years in business, and its plans for the future. Greenough is a CMA and a CPA. “We’re financially stable, very solvent,” she said, “and we’ve built confidence with our funders.” The two major funders are Service Nova Scotia and HRM. She noted that it was the 2006-2007 visioning process in Musquodoboit Harbour that provided the spark that got things going.
Greenough was especially excited about their new office building. “Before we moved in here, we barely saw each other some weeks,” she said. “It’s almost like having our own clubhouse, and it helps get the word out.”
Brian Rowlings, who’s been driving since MusGo Rider started, leads a team of full- and part-time drivers. “We build relationships with our clients,” Greenough says. “Most of our business is repeat business. Our drivers are almost like counselors. People get in their vehicles and some of them just start downloading. For people who are home-bound, our driver may be the only person they see all week.”
Greenough emphasized that MusGo Rider is “not even close to being like a cab company.” The company requires people to book rides in advance. “
In its early days though, Rowlings used to park outside popular bars on Saturday nights, with an RCMP car visible nearby, a strategy that produced a bunch of unscheduled rides home.
MusGo Rider belongs to the Rural Transportation Association. “There are other companies like MusGo Rider in the province,” Greenough says, “and some of them have been around much longer. One of the benefits of belonging to RTA is getting to ask people questions about best practices.”
Asked about the new MusGo Convenience store in Musquodoboit Harbour, Greenough admitted that imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery. “But I do have to make clear that there is no association between the store and MusGo Rider,” Greenough said.
After getting requests for similar service in Middle Musquodoboit and Sheet Harbour, the province asked MusGo rider to take on the task of setting up this service. Greenough says that the board decided to set up a new company to handle these two areas, in order to protect MusGo Rider’s financially. “ She is hopeful that the new company will soon get through the remaining regulatory hurdles.
To book a ride with MusGo Rider, call 902-483-RIDE(7433) at least by closing of the day before you want to be picked up. Office hours are 8:30 am to 4:30 pm, Monday-Friday, and 8 am to noon on Saturday. There is no service on Sunday. The website is at: