The temporary suspension, which began before the Christmas holiday season, was scheduled to end on February 12. However, the United Counties of Prescott-Russel (UCPR) had to extend the suspension of service to address labour issues.
The labour shortage is in the customer service area. PR Transpo is an on-demand service. Riders must call or book online on the Blaise Transit app. All requests are handled by PRTC customer service.
According to Olivier Berthiaume, UCPR senior advisor and communications coordinator, PR Transpo is expected to hire two customer service representatives.
UCPR staff are looking at ways to improve the performance and efficiency of the rural public transit n system, including processing requests without going through customer service.
« The suspension of PR Transpo is far from ideal and has a significant impact on the users of the service who must use alternative means of transportation, » said UCPR Warden Normand Riopel. « However, as a regional government, we have a responsibility to ensure the efficient and responsible delivery of all municipal services. In this case, a pause is necessary to resolve operational issues that prevent us from delivering the service properly.
PR Transpo is a pilot project that was launched by the UCPR in 2018 with financial support from the Ontario Community Transportation Grant Program. While PR Transpo began as a traditional fixed-route service, users have had on-demand service since June 2021. To date, PR Transpo’s on-demand service has completed 6,167 trips and served 234 riders.