By Trish Allison
The online world is a place where the real world becomes simplified, especially for residents of Hastings and Prince Edward counties who can now use the Internet to make traveling easier.
Twenty-five communities and 16 municipalities within the two counties can now acquire travel information with just a click of their mouse.
“The task force came together and we decided that we would create a very easy to use, very simplified web based information portal where anyone can go and access all of the transportation that is available to them in the Hastings and Prince Edward counties,” said Brandi Hodge, director of community engagement at the United Way of Quinte.
The task force Hodge speaks of is made up of multiple transportation groups, who two years ago decided it was time to bridge the gap for people looking for a means of transportation.
“I think it’s going to take some time to realize that it’s there,” said Hodge.
“Once they do know it’s there, I think it will be well used.”
Even in its first seven days (November 23 to November 29) the website gained attention and even managed 278 unique visits. The website itself had 494 pages views with 51 per cent of its traffic coming from referring sites. Thirty-seven per cent was direct traffic.
After investigation the one-stop portal aimed at seniors, youth, families, and people looking for employment, is very much like they say – easy to use.
“They [people] can just go and say where they’re going from, where they want to go to and what the purpose of their ride is and transportation providers will pop up on there,” said Hodge.
But there are other benefits to the portal aside from providing transportation information.
“It’s always good to network with other agencies, I find out what people need, I can find out what their clients are needing, and if it’s something I can change the way I do things than I can provide better transportation,” said Sue Stolarchuck, transit administrator for Deseronto Transit.
“I can provide a better solution if I know what they need,” she said.
Both women made the point that this portal is also for the use of service providers in the counties. They said people often call them looking for information on how to get to specific locations.
“So if somebody calls the United Way of Quinte looking for transportation we can access this website and see what transportation providers in the area best fits that person’s needs,” said Hodge.
According to the media release the information provided is inclusive of municipal services, specialized medical transportation services and services for employment. It stretches from North Hastings all the way to Southern Prince Edward County, Deseronto to Quinte West and all of the towns, cities and hamlets in between.
“You just put yourself in those shoes, if you were living somewhere else, if you were living in Madoc or Tweed and you wanted to go to Loyalist, you could go to the website and type that in and Central Hastings would come up,” said Stolarchuck.
The website can be accessed by visiting hpetransportation.ca