|Amherst resident Pearl Dalfidan climbs aboard the Cumberland Community Transportation Services Society's bus at the Sobeys entrance to the Amherst Centre Mall. Dalfidan has been using the services on a weekly basis since the services started a month ago, and hopes enough people will use it to extend services to a daily basis. Raissa Tetanish - Amherst Daily News|
AMHERST - For Pearl Dalfidan, having the services of accessible transportation at her fingertips is a blessing.
Since the Cumberland Community Transportation Services Society launched its operating schedule, Dalfidan's been riding the bus every week.
"Twice a week I use the bus to go to the mall or to Wal-mart and back," said the 58-year-old Amherst resident. "I moved back to Amherst from Toronto after 36 years and I couldn't believe there wasn't a bus. Amherst is big enough, I think, for the service."
Dalfidan says the service cuts her traveling costs in half than if she were using a cab - the bus costs her $5 for a round trip, compared to the $5 senior rate, each way, with the local cab companies. And just like a cab does, the bus picks up and drops off riders at their door.
"I do have my license, but I can't afford a car. I used to take a cab everywhere I went. I think it's just great.
"I don't know how people making minimum wage can afford to take a cab to work every day."
Since she started using the services, Dalfidan says she's been promoting the bus whenever and wherever possible, even leaving posters up to let others know about it.
"But not a lot of people have heard about it. One couple heard me talking about it in a restaurant last week so they asked me about it," she said.
"I try to spread the word as much as possible so that it keeps going. I'd like to see it run every day of the week."
After some hard work to make the services available, the society started operating the bus a month ago, running two days per week.
If the demand and capacity is there, the society says they'll add more days to the schedule.
Riders needing the services are asked to call the society 24 hours in advance to its designated days of service.
Dalfidan says every time she's used the bus, it's just been her and her mother, aside from the driver.
"The driver is fantastic," Dalfidan said. "He even gave my mother and me a demonstration of the lift at the back of the bus."
Passengers pay a kilometer-based fare for the services, starting in Amherst and reaching out to the rural parts of the county. All fares include pickup and return with the exception of one-way trips within Amherst.
The services are available to transportation-disadvantaged individuals - such as the physically disabled, elderly, those with other disabilities and at an income disadvantage.
The bus will serve communities in Cumberland South one day, and Cumberland North another, with doctors working with the society to coincide any appointments being made.
For more information, or to book the transportation services, call 667-8149.