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Image: Urban/Rural Rides

Government supports provincewide program for volunteer drivers

By Regis Phillips May 27, 2024 | 2:14 PM

Urban/Rural Rides now has provincial government support for a dispatch platform for its volunteer drivers.

The registered charity provides transportation services to seniors and low-income New Brunswickers for medical appointments, recreational activities, shopping and other appointments they otherwise might not be able to attend.

The Regional Development Corporation (RDC) will provide up to $2 million over four years to Urban/Rural Rides, which will work with Blaise Transit to develop and implement the platform.

Réjean Savoie, the minister responsible for the Regional Development Corporation, said RDC recognizes that transportation, particularly in rural regions of the province, is important to enhance the quality of life for residents.

“That is why we are pleased to support Urban/Rural Rides to provide a common dispatch platform to all 12 regional service commissions to implement a provincewide volunteer driver program,” added Savoie.

Urban/Rural Rides has a working relationship with five of the province’s 123 regional service commissions.

Government officials said the need to establish better connections between regions and increase efficiencies through a common dispatch platform was discussed at a transportation symposium held by the Economic and Social Inclusion Corporation last year.

Kelly Taylor, executive director of Urban/Rural Rides is excited about the platform and the efficiencies it will provide for the staff, the volunteers and the riders, as well as the increased opportunities to work in cooperation with other regions.

“Volunteer drivers are needed to help people in their local community, while also being a part of a provincial movement to help the most vulnerable in our communities, including seniors, low-income families and people with moderate disabilities, to access essential life needs like medical services,” said Taylor.