Carole Lavigne, economic development and tourism director for the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR), confirmed during a phone interview Wednesday (October 21) that the regional public transit service is suspended again because of lower ridership numbers due to the pandemic.
“COVID-19 did not help us,” Lavigne said.
Her office received calls from several retirement homes and seniors long-term care facilities asking that they be taken off the PR Transpo route schedule. The resurgence of COVID-19 in the region prompted many of these places to encourage their residents to stay at home rather than go out and increase their risk of exposure to the virus.
When the pandemic began in spring earlier this year, the regional transit service was shut down as part of the provincial government orders against unnecessary travel. At the time PR Transpo had been in operation since October 2019 as a pilot project to determine interest in having a public transit service for the region.
The service resumed operation seven weeks ago in September. Lavigne and her staff will review the project’s operations parameters to determine possible changes that would encourage more ridership when the service resumes again at a later date.
“We need to see how we can make the service more appropriate to the population,” she said. “When you start a project like this, you have to check and review, you have to test it to see the response.”