We provide services to any Shelburne County resident who requests them, placing a priority on helping those with barriers related to age, health, mobility, finances, and lack of support structures access essential services.
To help create communities where everyone can access the services and opportunities they need to lead healthy and connected lives.
Sou’West Nova Transit Association was formed in 2009 with the understanding that access to transportation doesn’t just benefit individual clients; it benefits the County as a whole. In small communities like ours, affordable public transportation is a vital part of keeping us all connected. The service was officially launched in September of 2012.
Sou’West Nova Transit is led by a committed Board of Directors. The staff includes a general manager, fleet manager, primary dispatcher, dispatch assistant, and staff drivers who drive our fleet vehicles. We also have a team of volunteer drivers who use their own vehicles and are reimbursed for mileage and expenses.
Using their own vehicles (mileage and expenses reimbursed), our volunteer drivers pick up individual clients at their door and deliver them to directly to their destinations. (Riders using this service must be able to get into and out of a vehicle with little to no assistance.)
Our fleet includes two Chevrolet Impalas to transports riders who do not require wheelchair accessibility. One was purchased thanks in part to a grant from the Province of Nova Scotia’s Accessible Transportation Assistance Program (ATAP). The other was fully funded by the Emergency Community Support Fund, as administered by the Community Foundations of Canada and the Rural Communities Foundation of Nova Scotia, to assist us in addressing capacity issues caused by the inability to social distance within vehicles during the pandemic.
Purchased largely through a grant from the Province of Nova Scotia’s Accessible Transportation Assistance Program (ATAP), our 2020 Toyota Sienna is available for accessible travel and general travel.
Purchased largely thanks to a grant from the Province of Nova Scotia’s Accessible Transportation Assistance Program (ATAP) and the support of 100+ Women Who Care of Shelburne County, our 2018 Ford Transit 150 is available for accessible travel and general travel.
Access to affordable or subsidized transportation involves much more than moving people from one place to another. Supporting physical and mental health, reducing isolation, building networks, discovering options for funding and help, assisting individuals to maintain their independence and stay in their homes longer are just some of the ways that SWNT works toward our vision: to help create communities where everyone can access the services and opportunities they need to lead healthy, connected lives. While paid staff help carry much of our day-to-day operations, there are two vital volunteer roles that are so important to the work that we do:
Our organization is led by a group of community members committed to seeing Sou’West Nova Transit fulfill its mission and vision. The primary role of the board of directors is GOVERNANCE, including: Developing and approving budgets and policy; setting long and short term organizational goals; approving major expenditures; overseeing and evaluating the Manager and providing feedback and support as appropriate.
Board members also assist with networking, fundraising and recruiting by making connections helpful to SWNT with people and organizations in their circle of influence. They may also serve on governance or operational committees as available and interested, or provide leadership or assistance for short-term projects.
Directors donate their time, but are reimbursed for mileage and approved expenses. They are nominated by our general member, vetted by our nomination committee, and elected by our membership at our Annual General Meeting in the spring.
What makes a great board member:
- Skills and experience: You don’t need to know anything about transportation to be a part of our team! Knowledge and expertise in any number of areas (such as leadership, HR, governance, financial management, public relations, health care, law, and more!) can be a great asset!
- Networking: Because transportation is a small piece of a much larger puzzle, we welcome interest by prospective board members who are part of the volunteer, staff or leadership teams of other local organizations, opening the doors for cooperation and partnership.
- Shared ethos: SWNT seeks board members who are team players, who are invested in their greater community and dedicated to improving the lives of our residents, and who are interested in building up and supporting – privately and publicly – the organization and the people who are involved in carrying out our mission.
- Time commitment: At minimum, members must be prepared to attend meetings (in person or virtual) once every six weeks and participate in email discussion of important matters between meetings.
Since its launch in 2012, Sou’West Nova Transit has relied on volunteer drivers using their own vehicles to help meet the transportation needs of Shelburne County residents.
Because specialized medical services are not always available in Shelburne County, riders frequently request trips to Yarmouth, Liverpool, Bridgewater, Kentville and Halifax. Some of these trips can take a driver and vehicle out of our area for several hours, or an entire day, drastically limiting the number of residents we can assist. Fleet vehicles driven by our excellent staff provide accessibility and consistency, but our team of volunteer drivers using their own vehicles is what gives us the capacity to be able to meet the wide variety of travel needs of our riders.
Volunteers are reimbursed for mileage, parking, and meals, and have the flexibility to accept trips that fit with their schedules, whether that be several times a week or simply several times a year.
What makes a great volunteer driver:
- Safety first: SWNT volunteers must be committed to the safety of our riders and themselves. They do this by keeping vehicles clean, well maintained and low scent, by navigating hazards around vehicles during loading and unloading, by being careful and conscientious drivers, and by only accepting trips in areas or conditions they are confident driving in.
- Caring, compassion and connection: The greatest contributions of SWNT volunteers have very little to do with getting someone from Point-A to Point-B. It is the time spent in between – building connections and catching up on that long drive to Halifax, laughing with our riders on the way to the grocery store, lending an ear after a poor diagnosis, sharing in a rider’s excitement as they travel to a family gathering – that can be the most meaningful, for drivers and riders alike! This in-car connection is an especially important element for riders who are particularly isolated by their rural locations and barriers to transportation. As such, we look for team members that riders will love spending time with and getting to know.
- Becoming a volunteer driver is a meaningful and fulfilling way to give back to the community. If you are a kind, positive, helpful person who is an excellent driver with a well-maintained vehicle, we’d love to talk with you about joining our team.
Interested in becoming a part of our volunteer team? Click one of the links below to complete a questionnaire!
Sou’West Nova Transit is funded in part by:
CTAP (Community Transportation Assistance Program), NS-TRIP (Nova Scotia Transit Research Incentive Program), and ATAP (Accessible Transportation Assistance Program), all initiatives of the Province of Nova Scotia’s Department of Communities, Culture and Heritages
The Municipality of the District of Shelburne
The Municipality of the District of Barrington
The Town of Shelburne
The Town of Lockeport
The Town of Clark’s Harbour
We have received generous grants for this fiscal year from:
JRB Fundraising Society
The Emergency Community Support Fund, as administered by the Community Foundations of Canada and the Rural Communities Foundation of Nova Scotia
We also offer advertising partnerships: businesses and organizations can place logos on one or more of our fleet vehicles in exchange for an annual fee or in-kind service contribution. If you are interested in partnering with us in this way, please contact us!