Town of Brome Lake prides itself as being ‘Friend of the Elderly’ or especially mindful of the needs of this clientele. The town is now part of the MADA network or Municipalité Amie des Aînés. The Seniors’ Directory recently published by the town is a good example of that. Leafing through the document, under Transportation, one notices that the few public transport services on offer are mostly of the inter-municipal and some local volunteer kinds. There is no public means of getting from one part of town to visit a friend in another sec- tor; to do so, we have to use an automobile. This affects seniors, many of whom can no longer drive, but also younger citizens and families who cannot afford a car let alone two.

How to remedy this?

A networked-shuttle system comes to mind. Ideally, it would have two types of routes. An “In-Town” route that routinely connects residents to all the key places in town and an “Inter-Town” route. Such a service already exists between TBL and Cowansville. If we found out how to do this, we would have a real opportunity to reduce the use of the car and have a positive effect on our environment; we would liberate many of our seniors and young families and facilitate mobility for the employees of our main job providers.

To work well, such a service would have to be predictable, regular, inexpensive to use and run without the need to plan a trip 24 hours ahead and connect TBL residents to the services of other nearby towns. If we could do this, we would reduce the overall reliance on private vehicles for all residents and so lower the total emissions and costs of transport for everyone.

That is one possible avenue. First, TBL must look at the various options. How about involving MADA and the Consultative Committee on the Environment (CCE) and interested volunteer groups in the process? They could look at what is being done in other towns of comparable geography and demography. Transportation experts could estimate costs and how to mesh together other municipal and inter-municipal services.

There is no easy solution but the need is pressing. Analyzing our options has become a necessity to ensure the vitality of our small communities as well as for the well being of our planet.