The Spring-Summer 2018 issue of The Bulletin, Transport Action Atlantic’s twice annual publication, is now available online. This issue’s feature coverage is VIA Rail’s 40th anniversary, a look at where the national passenger railway has ended up after four decades of service, and what the future might have in store. This issue also features additional rail news and commentary, updates on TAA’s advocacy work, marine and air news, transit and intercity bus updates, and much more!
Remember, TAA members receive a hard copy of each Bulletin by mail and have the chance to read each issue before anyone else. You can read more about the benefits of membership, and even join today, here: Membership
The chair of the South West New Brunswick Transit Authority is the 2018 winner of Transport Action Atlantic’s John Pearce Award, recognizing outstanding contribution to public transportation advocacy in the region. Stan Choptiany was honoured at TAA’s annual general meeting, held in Moncton on May 5.
The former mayor of St. Andrews was cited as someone who initially saw the need, was instrumental in establishing the transit authority, and then worked diligently as its chair, guiding it through the labyrinth of government funding sources while tirelessly maintaining contact with potential riders.
“Stan has clearly demonstrated his belief in rural public transit as an essential public service,” said Michael Perry, a long-time member of TAA’s board of directors who presented the award on behalf of the advocacy group.
“During his term as mayor, Stan came to the realization that a growing number of his constituents were prevented from full participation in the resources and benefits of both society and the economy because they lacked the freedom to readily access transportation. These included a broad demographic: seniors no longer wishing to drive, young people, particularly of college student age, people with disabilities, newly-arrived immigrants, and those unable to drive or whose financial situation precluded the purchase of a car. Their growing isolation from a society where mobility is a necessity became an increasing cause of concern, which resulted in many being unable to access timely health care, employment, and post-secondary education.”
The John Pearce Award was created to honour Transport Action Atlantic’s president emeritus, who retired last year from active participation after 40 years of dedicated public transportation advocacy. It is awarded annually to an individual or group to recognize an outstanding contribution, consistent with Mr. Pearce’s life-long passion.
“Stan Choptiany’s ‘never-say-die’ leadership ultimately achieved the return of daily bus service linking rural communities in Charlotte County with Saint John,” says TAA president Ted Bartlett. “Without his tireless efforts, last September’s start-up of RuralLynx almost certainly would not have happened. We thank him for his contribution, and will continue to support his efforts to make this service a success, and a model for transit in other rural areas of Canada.”
How does an organization appropriately acknowledge more than four decades of dedicated service to its cause? When president emeritus John Pearce advised his TAA colleagues last summer in a brief e-mail that his health no longer would permit him to maintain an active role, that question immediately arose. The answer came from vice-president Ashley Morton: establish an annual award in John’s name to recognize outstanding public transportation advocacy. And, let’s further honour John by naming him as the first recipient.
So it was that following the TAA fall board meeting on November 18, a delegation visited the Dartmouth seniors complex where John and his wife Karen now reside to personally present the annual award plaque and the recipient’s “keeper” trophy. It was obvious during the brief ceremony that, although age and health issues have forced him to the sidelines, they have not diminished his commitment and enthusiasm for the cause.
John joined Transport 2000 Atlantic in the mid 1970s, served for many years as its president, and remained an active volunteer and board member as the organization rebranded itself as Transport Action Atlantic. His primary focus was always passenger rail, and until less than a year ago he could be frequently found in the Halifax VIA station, promoting the cause and chatting with passers-by and railway employees.
The John Pearce Award will be given annually to a group or individual demonstrating outstanding effort in the field of public transportation advocacy. A selection committee will be established to invite nominations and choose the winner each year.