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Minister McKenna announces Canada’s first ever Rural Transit Fund

  •   2 min read

The Canadian government promises to allocate C$250M over the next five years to rural transit for both traditional and on-demand modes of transportation.

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Building on an early announcement of C$15B for transit over the next 8 years, Minister Catherine McKenna provided additional detail on a specific program for rural transit using this funding. Minister McKenna noted that the Rural Transit Fund “recognizes that Canadians living in rural and remote areas and in small communities have unique transportation challenges that require flexible, tailored solutions.” Funding will begin in 2021 to support transit planning efforts in rural communities as well as deployment of on-demand transit programs. 

Via is excited to see the Canadian government recognize how on-demand transit is well-suited for mobility challenges in rural communities due to their low density. In fact, we worked with Niagara Regional Transit to deploy creative on-demand solutions to meet the needs of their rural and suburban communities. 

In Niagara, our service covers 1,000 square kilometres and spans five communities, providing mobility options to residents who used to live in transit deserts. This partnership demonstrates the flexibility of on-demand transit, which can be scaled up and scaled down as needed. Elsewhere around the world, Via operates rural services in communities like Wilson, North Carolina; Lone Tree, Colorado; and Baldwin County, Alabama.

We’ll provide more updates on the Canadian Rural Transit Fund as they become available. We expect consultations to come out over the next three months for funding opportunities. However, it’s clear that if you’re looking to better understand how a technology-powered solution could improve mobility in your community, you’ll have some funding support from the federal government. 

We’d love to support your efforts! Please reach out to Gilbert Rahme who leads our team in Canada at Gilbert and his team can work with you on scoping and designing on-demand transit for your community, and share best practices from our work with rural communities across the globe.

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