January 31, 2007
For immediate release
Improving Transit Services for Islanders with Disabilities
Community and Cultural Affairs
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Pat and the Elephant now has two vans to provide transit services to users with disabilities in PEI. The two vans were purchased during the fall of 2006, and both were fully operational and on the roads of Prince Edward Island for the start of 2007. Pat and the Elephant is also receiving $125,000 from the Public Transit Capital Trust which will be used to purchase another two new specially equipped vans.
The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, noted, “By investing in helping Islanders with disabilities to use public transit, Canada’s New Government is delivering on our Budget 2006 commitment to provide Canadians with a healthy environment and a high quality of life. We are proud to provide this funding to support accessibility, a healthy environment and a higher quality of life.”
“Pat and the Elephant is committed to providing an excellent transportation service to people with a broad range of disabilities,” said Premier Pat Binns. “The province of PEI is pleased to assist this wonderful organization, as it fulfills its commitment to provide reliable, accessible transportation to Islanders with mobility challenges.”
PEI Infrastructure Minister, the Honourable Elmer MacFadyen, said: “I’m extremely proud that we as Islanders are recognizing and acting upon the need to continue to upgrade this service in our community for those with disabilities.”
The four vans feature hydraulic lifts, ramps, special tie-downs and seatbelts to ensure the safety and comfort of passengers. The vehicles can hold up to three persons in wheelchairs and three passengers using regular seating. Services are available year round, from 7a.m. to 11 p.m.
“Being able to get from one place to another is important to Islanders with disabilities,” said Tom DeBlois, President of Pat and the Elephant. “The vans provide a safe, convenient way for Islanders in need to get around, especially in bad weather.”
Pat and the Elephant was founded by Patricia Rogers in 1975. The company provides needed service to physically challenged Islanders and visitors alike with these vans. Their clients include people who are visually or hearing impaired, have artificial limbs and/or use a wheelchair. The company services all ages and travels daily to places like daycares, schools, university, doctors’ clinics, the Seniors Active Living Centre, the grocery stores, and to the homes of family and friends.
Prince Edward Island’s share of the federal Public Transit Fund is more than $1.7 million. This builds on Island infrastructure investments by Canada of $37.5 million through the Gax Tax Fund, $3.8 million through the Public Transit Capital Trust, $33 million through the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund and $98 million through the Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund.