November 2016 Musgo Rider Takes On Sheet Harbour and the Valley By Richard Bell The highly successful Musgo Rider operation operating out of Porters Lake has now spun off a brand-new fellow cooperative to serve Sheet Harbour and the Musquodoboit Valley. Both cooperatives offer door-to-door, pre-booked transportation. At a launch ceremony in Sheet Harbour on October 17, 2016, Natural Resources Minister Lloyd Hines (speaking on behalf of Municipal Affairs Minister Zach Churchill) said that the province was contributing $59,042 to set up a pilot project to provide expanded transportation services. “Public transit is an important service in many of our small towns and rural communities across the province," said Hines. “Through our funding programs we help make these transit services accessible and able to meet the needs of citizens." The new cooperative, MusGo Rider Valley-Sheet Harbour Cooperative Ltd., will be working closely with its fellow organization, MusGo Rider Cooperative Ltd., which has been operating from Preston and Lawrencetown to Ship Harbour since 2012. "Provincial funding helped us develop a comprehensive business plan and launch the service on a firm financial footing, taking us through the first several months of growth," said David Kerr, board chair for MusGo Rider Valley-Sheet Harbour Cooperative Ltd. "The funding is important to ensure future success of our transit service." Both organizations require users to pre-book their rides. The organizations work with municipal and provincial the agencies to obtain funds to reduce fees for some users. And both have wheelchair-accessible vehicles to make it easy for everyone to get to medical appointments, grocery stores, family and community events, and more. Newly re-elected District 2 City Councillor David Hendsbee, and MLA and House Speaker Kevin Murphy also spoke briefly at the event. Both politicians have been strong supporters of the original Musgo cooperative, which grew out of a demand for better transportation services in the 2007 Musquodoboit Harbour visioning process. After the ceremony, Murphy tried out the rear-accessible wheelchair ramp on the new Valley/Sheet Harbour van, leaving the very first tracks on the ramp. Several local residents attending the ceremony suggested that the new coop should look into coordinating with the Metro X express bus that runs out of Porters Lake as a way of reducing the cost of a trip from Sheet Harbour into Dartmouth or Halifax. As it happens, two planners from HRM working on a new “integrated mobility plan” (IMP) attended the ceremony. According to the IMP website, the IMP “will create a vision for moving around the Halifax region and help to direct future investment in transportation demand management, transit, active transportation, and the roadway network to improve the links between residents and their communities.” The two Musgo organizations fit well with the plan’s emphasis on “public and community based transit.” HRM planners are conducting public workshops about the plan. For more information, go to: http://shapeyourcityhalifax.ca/integratedmobility. To contact Musgo Rider for more information or to book a ride, please call 902-483-7433 or toll free 1-855-483-7433.

March 30, 2017

August 2016 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: http://musgorider.com.

March 30, 2017

April 2016 MusGo Rider is becoming a model for solving some of the long-standing rural transportation problems in rural Nova Scotia. Starting on April 1, 2016, MusGo Rider will be offering subsidized rides to seniors and persons with disabilities travelling to Dartmouth/Halifax for medical-related appointments. The subsidies come thanks to a grant from the Eastern Shore Musquodoboit Community Health Board. Under this new program, seniors and people with disabilities going in for medical appointments will only pay half the regular fare rate. This fare subsidy is opened to anyone living within the Eastern Shore Musquodoboit Community Health Board area, but the departure point must be within MusGo Rider’s service area of East Preston/Lawrencetown to Ship Harbour. For now, the fare subsidy is only available once per person, due to limited funds. For more information, or to book a ride please call Dispatch at 902-483-7433 or email musgorider@gmail.com. Meanwhile, people living in Musquodoboit Valley and Sheet Harbour will soon have access to their very own rural community transit service. Organizers have submitted a final draft Business Plan to the Department of Municipal Affairs for their approval of MusGo Rider Valley-Sheet Harbour Cooperative Ltd. If all goes well, the pilot stage for this new service will be on the road some time in July or August. If you have suggestions on meetings or groups that you feel would be beneficial for the Board and/or Executive Director to attend in the Musquodoboit Valley and/or Sheet Harbour, or surrounding communities within Halifax Regional Municipality, please email Jessie Greenough at jhlgreenough@gmail.com. And if you are interested in applying for the position of Driver for MusGo Rider Valley-Sheet Harbour Cooperative Ltd., please send a resume to Jessie Greenough. All drivers have to provide a driver’s abstract and criminal record check. The driver should be located within the service area of Sheet Harbour or Musquodoboit Valley.

March 30, 2017

October 2015 MusGo Rider Covers the Shore By Jessie Greenough (Editor’s Note: HRM’s transportation services have never reached most of the people of the Eastern Shore. In 2012, the founders of MusGo Rider set out to fill this gap, and have succeeded admirably. We asked MusGo Rider executive director Jessie Greenough (CPA, CMA) to bring us up to speed on what’s happening with this exciting venture in community transit.) MusGo Rider Cooperative Ltd. is the non-profit transit organization servicing Eastern Shore communities from East Preston/Lawrencetown east to Ship Harbour. The only real limitation on using the service is that your pick-up or drop-off spot has to be within MusGo’s service area; otherwise we will take you anywhere within Halifax Regional Municipality. Community transit is for everyone; you don’t have to be a senior, be in a wheelchair, or have a disability. But if you do need an attendant to go with you, your attendant rides free of charge. MusGo Rider also offers charter service for weddings and parties. This is a service that provides rides to your guests for up to four hours. Many people use this service to get their guests safely home after wedding receptions or parties. The cost of the service is $225 and provides one driver and van for four hours. MusGo Rider drivers are willing to go the extra step to make sure that you get to where you going safely. If you are a senior or someone who requires assistance with such things as carrying your groceries, MusGo drivers are always happy to assist without any additional charge. MusGo is currently supporting the development of a Business Plan for Musquodoboit Valley/Sheet Harbour and surrounding communities We are working closely with a consultant and the communities to bring the same reliable rural transportation we have on the shore to these areas. There are currently fourteen Community Transit organizations operating in rural Nova Scotia, with more in various steps of the development process. To see which communities offer rural transportation, please visit http://www.ruralrides.ca. To arrange a ride with MusGo, or to find out more information, please call Dispatch at (902)483-7433, or email musgorider@gmail.com. If you are interested in joining the Board of Directors, or have suggestions, please email me at greenough@ns.sympatico.ca. We look forward to picking you up!

March 30, 2017

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