MUSKOKA – A proposed bus service between Muskoka and Barrie is meant to increase transportation in the region, not replace existing medical services, assures Coun. Fran Coleman.
Coleman, a District of Muskoka and Huntsville councillor, said she has heard concerns from the community that the new corridor 11 bus service soon to be offered by Hammond Transportation is meant to eliminate the need for existing services such as the Canadian Cancer Society’s volunteer drivers.
Coleman said that was never the district’s intention.
“(A community member) thinks that we, the district councillors, heard this and were contriving to take cancer drivers away, and I assured him that was never discussed,” said Coleman.
She noted cancer patients are often too ill to ride a bus.
“It was certainly not the district’s intention with the pilot project to take away the services that the cancer society provides,” said Coleman. “It never was.”
She said her understanding is that the bus is meant to enhance transportation in the region for those who may need to go to Orillia or Barrie for services such as eye doctor or other appointments.
“If a cancer patient is well enough to take the bus, so be it. But we’re not trying to make the bus service the only transportation option,” she said.
Coleman noted that the cancer society’s volunteer drivers transport patients out of the goodness of their heart and that the 30 cents a kilometer they receive does not cover the cost of their vehicle.
The service the volunteer drivers provide, she said, is invaluable.