Trial Program to Extend Transit Service Hours

Province announces additional funding for local transit

Collingwood Council has approved a Staff Report submitted by Brian Macdonald, Director Public Works and Engineering that deals with a proposed pilot project to extend transit service hours in Collingwood and surrounding region.

The purpose of STAFF REPORT #2018-07 is to provide the necessary information to Council to approve a budget increase of approximately $35,000.00 for the extension of transit service hours for a trial period of 6 months.

THAT Council receives Staff Report PW2018-07; and,

THAT Council approve the amount of $35,000.00 to increase the extension of hours of service on a trial basis, and;

THAT the Extended Hours of Service Pilot run from July 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018 with an optional 90 day extension, and,

THAT the approval of such funds is contingent of the participation of all three municipalities in the proposed trial.

The South Georgian Bay Labour Supply (SGBLS) Task Force has identified what it calls an immediate need for regional transportation to support the local regional labour pool within the region, along with attainable accommodation and several other opportunities.

South Georgian Bay Labour Ssupply is chaired by Andrew Siegwart, President, Blue Mountain Village Association, and includes representatives from five municipalities, Grey and Simcoe counties, Georgian College and the Business Development Centre.

With aid from the Labour Supply Task Force, a work session was initiated in early February with members from across the region from all disciplines including, Municipal and County Government, small businesses, education, Hospitality and Tourism, Retail and Healthcare to look at transportation and transit.

The group worked to identify issues, barriers and general concerns with the structure of Public Transit within the region. A consistent theme was the need to look at the local area’s transportation needs on a “regional level.” This was complimented by a regional employer transportation survey, which identified key gaps employees face in terms of affordable transportation options.

From this meeting , a smaller working group was put together to begin the work to analyze and determine the local transportation needs of not only the region’s employment sector, but also transportation needs for local riders.

The major component of the trial service will be extending the mid-day gap of the Blue Mountain Link service between 10:00am and 3:00pm.

Transportation to Blue Mountain Resort after 7:00 p.m. was very important

The Transit working group agreed that filling transit service gaps within individual systems would be a primary starting point at providing consistent and reliable transit service within the area. This was supported by the Employer Survey results which indicated in particular that transportation to Blue Mountain Resort after 7pm was very important.

The major component of the trial service will be extending the mid-day gap of the Blue Mountain Link service between 10:00am and 3:00pm. This service is very similar to the trial operating period of the Wasaga Beach Link in 2011. Once the mid-day gap was filled the ridership numbers nearly doubled. The trial service will also see the Collingwood Wasaga Beach link extended one hour in the evening, and additional Colltrans service on weekend evenings.

With the proposed extension of the hours of service for six months, the ending of the trial period falls in the middle of winter. This poses some concern, as riders/employees who have taken jobs in other municipalities may find themselves in circumstances where they have no transportation to and from work, if the trial service is not committed to for an extension or made permanent.

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