Nelson CARES is running a medical transportation service between Nelson and Trail three days weekly. Photo: Submitted

Nelson CARES is running a medical transportation service between Nelson and Trail three days weekly. Photo: Submitted

Nelson CARES launches medical bus service to Trail

The bus runs one trip per day, three days per week, and needs more passengers to be viable long term

Nelson CARES has started a medical transportation service that makes a return trip from Nelson to Trail three days per week.

“We identified several individuals in our community starting from Balfour all the way out to the Slocan Valley who need to attend regularly to Trail hospital for dialysis,” says Joanne Motta, transportation co-ordinator at Nelson CARES.

The bus route is built around the Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital’s dialysis schedule, leaving Nelson at 6:30 a.m. and leaving Trail for the return trip at 1 p.m., on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, for a round-trip fare of $35.

But the service is not just for seniors or dialysis patients. Motta said anyone who needs to get to Castlegar or Trail for medical purposes can use it.

Motta says some people in Nelson have been paying up to $12,000 per year for private transportation for dialysis.

The bus has two wheelchair spots with belts, and five belted seats, for a total of seven.

This bus run is an experiment to gauge demand, and funding for it is limited. At current usage rate – often just two people per trip – the money will run out in late July.

“If it were full, it would actually become self sustainable,” says Motta. “I know a lot of people can’t afford the $35. But it’s just not sustainable to run it with only two people.”

More seats could be added if there is enough demand, she said.

There are no bus stops. The bus travels the city and picks up each passenger at their home. Phone 778-426-5247 to be picked up.

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