PR Transpo is on the road. The United Counties of Prescott and Russell’s (UCPR) public transportation service was officially launched on Wednesday, October 23 at the UCPR administration building in L’Orignal.
The regular Monday to Saturday service began on Monday, October 28. In order to encourage residents to get on board and use the new service, it will be free until November 15. The price of a regular, adult ticket is five dollars and for students (ages five to 17) and for senior citizens (age 65 and more) it is four dollars. Passengers can also save a bit on their fares by purchasing tickets in books of 10 for $45 each for adults and $35 each for seniors and students.
“The people of Prescott and Russell have repeatedly mentioned the challenges of our residents’ mobility across our territory,” said UCPR Warden Robert Kirby.
Research done by UCPR staff found that many residents wished there was a public transportation service that would make it easier for people to get to appointments, shopping, and social events in other communities.
The UCPR received a $2 million grant from the Ontario government to develop the system as a pilot project until 2023. Kirby noted that Prescott-Russell was one of the few rural municipalities who received one of the grants.
The new service is managed by the UCPR Economic Development and Tourism Department, under the direction of Project Officer Isabelle Péladeau.
PR Transpo has two minibuses that are fully accessible, and each have 19 seats. There are 12 different routes that will operate on various days. There are also bicycle racks on the front of the buses so passengers can cycle to or from their stop. Most of the routes have a round trip in the morning and again in the afternoon so passengers can travel to other communities and have time to return home after. The buses are operated by Leduc Bus Lines of Alfred and will be on the roads between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. from Monday to Saturday.
The routes and schedules could be adjusted in the future as UCPR staff assess ridership and demand. All routes link the larger towns and villages in the counties, although there is no service to Embrun and Russell. There is at least one stop in every community served, and there are several stops in larger centres such as Hawkesbury, Vankleek Hill, and Rockland. All stops are being marked with special signage.
Users will be able to track the location of PR Transpo buses using the MYGeoTab app for Android and iPhones, and by calling or texting 613-307-7813 or 1-844-957-0533, or by email [email protected] Sales locations for tickets will be announced in the coming weeks. A complete listing of routes and schedules is also online at www.PRtranspo.ca
Buses and trains
Recently, the Municipality of Casselman has requested that VIA rail increase its service to the train station in the village. VIA already serves Casselman and is a stop on the busy line between Ottawa and Montréal but Mayor Daniel Lafleur would like to see a new Ottawa-bound train added at 6:30 a.m. and at 5 p.m. on weekdays.
Casselman is an increasingly popular choice as a place to live for people who commute to work in Ottawa.
Lafleur said a service like PR Transpo could possibly complement expanded passenger rail service.
“We sure could arrange something if it goes ahead with VIA Rail,” he said.
According to Lafleur, the municipality will receive more information about possible expansion of train service to Casselman at a meeting with VIA Rail officials that is planned for February, 2020.