I am greatly concerned about existing and future transportation needs for Ponoka and adjacent communities.
A couple of years ago, I was on one of the economic development subcommittees and submitted the concept to develop an small, internal 12-passenger van ‘bus’ route within Ponoka that would run five to six times a day through residential areas (i.e. one morning run, a pre-noon and post-noon, two evening runs) and to develop a similar inter-town shuttle bus that would do a similar type of run north and south.
This transportation system would be developed in conjunction with Wetaskiwin, Hobbema, Lacombe and Red Deer, hopefully with another feeder to Red Deer from Lacombe so that all of these communities would be linked.
At the time, the economy was booming but there were many unemployed or underemployed people in Ponoka and Hobbema who lacked transportation to work. Certainly Greyhound was never an option for working people and taxis are too expensive.
With one in four Canadians turning 65 in the next decade, we need this type of service. Seniors are a key part of the economy. They need to be able to get out and remain as independent as possible, without going broke on taxi fees or asking too many favours from friends. Many seniors continue to drive when they probably know they shouldn’t be on the road but there is no other reasonable option.
I believe this type of service would revitalize the retail sector of this community and others.
Perhaps instead of the community pumping money into a splash park that will be used for maybe three weeks in our iffy summers, how about we put our energy into a transportation service that will be used year round for everyone — to help workers, seniors, youth, employers and retail business owners?