St. Marys joins agreement for Intracounty Transportation Project

·3 min read

By Spencer Seymour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

St. Marys Town Council has officially agreed to be part of the upcoming public transit project in Perth County.

At last Tuesday's regular Council meeting, members of Council approved of the Town of St. Marys entering into a Local Partnership Agreement with the County of Perth and the City of Stratford for the Intracounty Community Transportation Project. Also approved was that any final necessary edits to the Agreement be delegated to the Town's Chief Administrative Officer, Brent Kittmer.

The transportation project will be administered by Perth County in all of the partnering communities and aims at offering better connectivity for local residents who can't or don't want to drive. Maggie Martin, Transit Project Coordinator for Perth County, joined the Council to talk about how the transit system will operate.

Martin began by informing Council that the project will begin on November 16th of this year. The project, called Perth County Connect or PC Connect, will see a total of five routes launched later this month. There will be two intercounty routes; Route A, which will run through Perth County North; and Route B, which will run through Perth County South. Route B will travel through St. Marys four times per day and runs Monday to Saturday. St. Marys will have two scheduled-stop locations at St. Marys Town Hall and St. Marys Memorial Hospital. Martin noted that in the future when the PC Connect project is launched entirely, VIA Rail will also become a scheduled-stop location in St. Marys. Both intercounty routes will be charged at $6 per ride for adults and $5 for seniors and students. There will also be routes connecting Perth County communities to London and Kitchener-Waterloo.

Martin noted that they currently don't have an app for the project ready to be released and, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, rides must be booked in advance. Riders are asked to call their toll-free phone number, 1-888-465-0783, and book their trip. They will then receive an email with confirmation of their booking details. Riders are asked to arrive five minutes before their scheduled pickup time with the exact change for their fare. At this time, credit and debit cards will not be accepted and the program doesn't yet have a reloadable pass option like the Presto card available to transit users in Toronto. Martin noted that it is the goal for the project to have other payment options available by the time of the project's full launch.

Due to the pandemic, safety protocols will be in place. Every other seat on the buses will be blocked off and not for sale. Riders must also wear a mask and are reminded to wash their hands before and after using the bus service. Enhanced cleaning measures will also be in place on the buses. All buses will be wheelchair-accessible with two wheelchair spaces available.

More information on the PC Connect project can be found at www.perthcounty.ca/en/living-here/community-transportation---perth-county-and-stratford.aspx#

Spencer Seymour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Marys Independent