Grey Transit Route (GTR) users will now be able to travel between Dundalk and Orangeville every day of the week with the launch of weekend service.
Grey County began offering weekend bus runs on the Hwy. 10 route, which goes between Dundalk, Shelburne and Orangeville, this past weekend (July 10). The expansion to include weekend bus service is part of a pilot project launched by the Town of Shelburne and will run until December. The pilot project is funded through a realigning of $25,000 included in the 2021 budget for two bus shelters.
“Having the service to begin with was significant for the Town of Shelburne. Transit was near, if not at the top, of the list for residents who have been here a long period of time and certainly for those who are making Shelburne their home,” said Shelburne Deputy Mayor Steve Anderson. “With the community growing as much as it has…to not have public transportation to navigate from point A to point B was not something that was tolerable.”
First implemented in September of 2020, Anderson said the expansion of the public transportation service has to do with the demand from the public.
“We believe that the service level will continue to increase. Grey County officials came to town council, they had informed us serval months ago that the route between Shelburne and Orangeville was the busiest route on their entire system,” said Anderson. “Just imagine expanding that to weekend service to allow families and others to be able to use that. It’s going to continue to be successful, in my opinion.”
Stephanie Stewart, manager of community transportation for GTR, confirmed to the Free Press that Hwy. 10 from Dundalk to Orangeville has been the services busiest route and said since launching 10 months ago the route has seen 829 riders.
“The five month pilot, I think is going to be very well used, and I believe that this is going to be a mainstay in the future,” said Stewart.
Speaking with the Free Press, Anderson recalled reading a social media post from an older man asking for a ride to and from Orangeville to attend a medical appointment and said the transit route and subsequent expansion now gives the community “freedom of mobility and dignity”.
Stewart shared a similar sentiment.
“It creates the ability for people to have access to move, to travel freely, and to where they’d like to go. To me it creates freedom, that autonomy and allows all of our residents – Grey County, Dufferin County, Bruce Grey – to succeed regardless if they have vehicle of their own. This creates equal opportunities for everyone to thrive.”
Grey County in 2020 received a grant of $1.85 million under the Ontario Community Transportation Program, which funded the transit project. Recently, funding was extended into 2025 for weekday service with Grey County receiving an additional $924,000 and the Township of Southgate, which funds the Shelburne route, an additional $307,097.
GTR fares for Route 1 and 2 (Owen Sound to Orangeville) are $5.00 for adults (18+), $4.50 for seniors (55+) and students (6-17), and free for children five and under.
Face coverings are mandatory to ride GTR buses and all rides must be booked in advance to ensure capacity. Capacity has been limited to five people per bus.
Route schedules, maps, and fares can be found on the Grey Transit Route website, where tickets can also be purchased.
Two new stops will be added in Shelburne, which will be located at the intersection of Colonel Phillips Drive and Armstrong Road as well as on School Road and Simon Street.
The weekend service pilot project will run from July 10 until Dec. 12.
Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press