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Role of Para Bus may be expanded

An example is the blind who could use it during the winter months because it's more difficult to get around for people with a visual impairment
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parabus at bus station turl
Phara is pulling out of a joint effort with the city to run Para Buses. Jeff Turl/BayToday

When Physically Handicapped Adults Rehabilitation Association, (PHARA) decided to end its partnership last week with the city, the future of the Para Bus program looked uncertain.

See: PHARA pulls out of parabus program

But now there is some optimism it may actually be expanded.

Councillor Mike Anthony sits on the Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee (MAAC) and the group's monthly meeting was held Thursday.

"The single biggest topic was the Para Bus," said Anthony.

PHARA staffed the bus operation while the city-owned and maintained the vehicles. This forces the city to look for a new contractor and the MAAC is getting positive feedback that the service may actually expand.

"Is this the time to look at scheduling? How often it runs? How far ahead should you book? Is this the time to look at who uses the service? One example that came up is some cities allow some people to use it that ordinarily, it would not. An example is the blind, who could use it during the winter months because it's more difficult to get around for people with a visual impairment."

Anthony suggests opening it up to more people, as well as making it more efficient from a scheduling point of view.

There are people on the MAAC that are users of the Para Bus that are concerned for the future of the bus.

But Anthony says the City is mandated to provide the service and another contractor to replace PHARA will be sought. 




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