PC Connect buses launch with 50 per cent fares from Nov. 16 until Dec. 31

·4 min read

PERTH COUNTY – Perth County and the City of Stratford are marking the launch of the PC Connect community transportation bus service on Nov. 16 with 50 per cent off all fares until Jan. 1.

“I just want to confirm we have secured the required fleet to fully launch both of our routes. Voyago has acquired two buses to launch our service on Nov. 16, however one of the buses will be smaller scale, holding 12 passengers as opposed to 20,” said Maggie Martin, transit coordinator. “Booking the service can be done in three easy steps for residents, so riders will be required to call the toll-free number to book their ride the day before their trip, provide the details of their trip such as the day, the time, the pick-up and their destination… it is important to note that all reservations take priority over riders at a bus stop who haven’t pre-booked the service.”

To ride PC Connect, call 1-888-465-0783 to book your trip, and arrive at your stop five minutes before pick-up with the exact change for your fare.

“We are grateful for the opportunity presented by the MTO to provide our residents with much-needed access to affordable transportation. The service is going to be a great asset to our rural county and our residents, and we look forward to getting it on the road,” said Warden James Aitcheson. “I encourage everyone to try the PC Connect responsibly, and to follow public health regulations by practising safe hand and respiratory etiquette at all times.”

“The City of Stratford looks forward to launching this vital and much-needed service that will provide connectivity for our residents and improve the economic prosperity and skilled labour recruitment throughout our region,” said Stratford Mayor Dan Mathieson.

PC Connect will offer five fixed routes that will be in operation from Monday to Saturday, eight hours per day on each route. The routes have been designed to provide residents with convenient and reliable access to employment, grocery stores, recreational activities, medical appointments and leisure. PC Connect links Perth County and surrounding areas including Stratford, St. Marys, Kitchener-Waterloo and London.

Standard fares for PC Connect Route A and B which connect communities within Perth County are $6/ride for adults and $5/ride for seniors and students. Routes 1, 2 and 3, which connect Listowel, Stratford, and St. Marys with Kitchener-Waterloo and London will be available for $12/ride for adults, and $10/ride for seniors and students. Exact change will be required when boarding the bus.

The first six weeks of the service are considered to be a “soft launch,” with hours adjusted and stops reduced on Routes 1, 2 and 3 to better accommodate running times and holiday retail shopping. Schedules will be adjusted in early 2021 to support employees commuting to and from work, with additional stops added in the Region of Waterloo at the GO Terminal and University of Waterloo. The long-distance route launch will also be staggered, with Routes 1 and 2 launching on 16 November and Route 3 to London launching in the coming weeks.

More stops will be added in the new year.

“As an entirely new service we want to make this as appealing as possible for residents to go out, jump on the bus and experience exactly what the PC Connect has to offer,” said Martin.

The PC Connect service will be fully accessible. The service provider Voyago has been operating responsibly throughout the pandemic by enforcing a series of safety and sanitizing precautions recommended by the Ministry of Health. Seating on the PC Connect will be reduced by 50 per cent to allow for safe social distancing, and the use of a face-covering will be mandatory for all able passengers.

With the challenge of rural bus routes, Martin said solving the problem of first and last mile issues for riders is still being discussed. There has been discussion of subsidizing taxi coupons or rides but it has to be investigated further to see if it fits into the MTO guidelines for spending.

“It is certainly top of mind for us, to figure it out through this soft launch and hopefully implement it as soon as possible,” she said.

For up to date information on schedules and bus stop locations visit www.perthcounty.ca/PCConnect.

Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner