Weekend service will be added to the Grey Transit route to Orangeville thanks to funding from the Town of Shelburne.
Council members endorsed the plan and the $25,000 cost at its Jan. 11 meeting.
The service will begin sometime after restrictions on movement are lifted, perhaps March or April, council was told by CAO Denyse Morrissey.
The money will pay for five months, which will be a pilot to see if uptake is as great as was suggested by a survey of rider interest in the service.
To support the service, another $8,000 will be spent on marketing and promotion.
Shelburne Mayor Wade Mills supported the move, saying the delayed start means that “we’re not eating into that five-month trial period with a time when people aren’t really able to take advantage of the service we’re providing.”
Deputy-Mayor Steve Anderson said he believes the pilot will be successful and asked about how to fund the rest of the year.
The five-month service is being funded by re-assigning money that was in the budget to provide transit shelters and snow-clearing.
The CAO said that staff plans to check in with Grey County on the program’s success at the two-month point, and then would look for potential room in the budget or possible grants.
The cost of a full year of the weekend service would be $60,000, she said. Ridership is not covering the cost of operating the Grey County Transit, which were funded by provincial grant money.
In fact, the portion that connects the rapidly-growing village of Dundalk to Orangeville - for shopping, college and GO commuter service was financed from a separate $500,000 provinicial grant. Implementation was delayed by shut-downs, and is still being affected.
While the weekday service is timed to coincide with the GO leaving Orangeville for employment, the weekend times will not likely be as early.
They are expected to serve different needs than the weekday. Another factor that will have to be taken into account in determining the stops is that Orangeville Transit does not run on the weekends, Ms Morrissey said.
The weekend service could likely start within 10 to 14 days of lockdown ending, she added.
M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald