Building rural transit, Les Transports Adaptés et Collectifs des Collines

There's transit in them there hills thanks to
the legendary Harry Gow. Last month
Gow  announced his retirement from the
local transit system serving communities in
Quebec's Gatineau Hills north of Ottawa. 
On Feb. 23, in Val-des-Monts, the annual meeting of Les Transports Adaptés et Collectifs des Collines learned that more and more people are using rural  transit in the Gatineau Hills.  User numbers of rural transit in the MRC des Collines doubled in 2011, from 568 riders to 1,119, and  more than tripled from 2008.

The number of riders on "Transport Adapté" for persons with disabilities increased by nearly 20 per cent, so the growth rate of regular and adapted transit combined grew by a startling 76 per cent, while vehicle - kms dropped by about 25 per cent through increased sharing ofvehicles.

William Robertson, Director of the rural transit agency, and its Development Agent, Benoit Legros told those present at the  annual meeting - including the Mayors of Val-des-Monts and of Chelsea - of progress towards the creation of a wider transit system in the Gatineau Hills.  Plans approved by the MRC  (County) Council and by the CRÉO (Regional Council) call for
the creation of regular commuter runs within the four "core" municiplaities of La Pêche, Val-des-Monts, Chelsea and Cantley, and from them into the city of Gatineau.
The new system promises increased service, with savings to the taxpayer relative to the existing system's costs.

At the meeting Harry Gow announced that he is retiring as President of the Board of the rural transit agency, but was gratified to learn he is now an Honorary Member - and will continue as the delegate to the Québec Rural Transit  Association (ATCRQ).  His place as president is now occupied by Caryl Green, the Mayor of Chelsea, to whom he wishes success in this new role.

Gow, who founded Transport Action Canada, also thanked the Board and management of the rural transit agency for their support and hard work over the last decade, without which none of this progress would have been possible.