Eagle Valley Transportation is close to seeing the rubber hit the road.
Established to provide Sicamous residents with a transportation option otherwise unavailable in the community, the organization is close to forming a non-profit society.
It has five volunteer drivers signed up (though more are wanted), a co-ordinator, an operating mandate and plans for the future. What it doesn’t have is an office or much in the way of overhead, says Malcolm Makayev, a member of the steering committee who has been working to make Eagle Valley Transportation (EVT) a reality.
“It’s sort of a cyberspace organization where we don’t have a head office,” said Makayev. “If the co-ordinator has to go out of town, we’ll have an alternate co-ordinator. As far as the public is concerned, they wouldn’t see any change to the service.”
Explaining the details of the service EVT is working to provide, Makayev said “members” who need a ride would pay a one-time fee of $5. They will also be required to fill out a one-and-a-half page memorandum of understanding regarding conduct during use of the service.
“So they’re not allowed to promote religious beliefs, or we ask not to have food or drinks in the vehicle or leave garbage in the vehicle and not use profanity – just your basic courtesy kind of stuff,” said Makayev.
After each trip, riders will be given an opportunity to fill out a survey and provide a donation in support of the service.
Before becoming a member, people have to check whether or not other available transportation services would be a better fit.
“Members have to check with the Interior Health bus that runs twice a week from Revelstoke to Kelowna, and Revelstoke to Kamloops,” said Makayev. “They have to make sure they can’t utilize that service first, and they have to make sure they can explain to us why they can’t use the local cab company. Our intention is not to take away business from the local cab company…”
The service would be available for Sicamous and Malakwa residents, and could provide transportation to destinations as far as Kamloops and Kelowna.
Makayev emphasized EVT will not be offering a shuttle service.
“We’re asking people to give at least two-days advance notice of their need for a ride,” said Makayev. “And our mandate is that you qualify for a ride if you self-identify a need for a ride. It’s not just for seniors. We’re starting our focus on seniors, but it will expand from there…”
Volunteer drivers are also screened, said Makayev, and their vehicles are checked to assure they are road safe.
“We do an abstract of their licence, we do a criminal record check, we have an automotive service, Sicamous Automotive, doing a free vehicle safety inspection and one of the board of directors will actually do a road test, just go out with the driver to make sure they are driving OK. And we sign off on their road check,” said Makayev.
In addition, drivers are asked to have $5 million liability insurance and a business licence.
“If they can’t afford to do it, the society has some seed money – we’ll bump up their insurance to make sure they have $5 million liability and business insurance,” said Makayev.
Thinking long-term, Makayev said EVT will also be seeking charitable status, and will be looking to raise funds for the purchase of an electric vehicle.
“We’re currently researching the Chevy Bolt, it’s a new production car coming out in 2017… it’s strictly electric, and it has a range on full charge of 383 kilometres,” said Makayev. “So we’re going to be putting an application into the Shuswap Community Foundation to see if they’ll support that.”
Meanwhile, EVT will be looking for support from destination municipalities to use their electric vehicle charging stations for free. (Last week EVT received support from Sicamous council to use the district’s charging station free of charge.)