On-demand transit could make it to Collingwood in August

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“I think this is the most cost effective way to be able to deliver services and deliver them to the whole municipality,” says a city official.

You could soon order a public bus to take you around Collingwood.

At Monday night’s Development and Operations Services Standing Committee meeting (December 6), councilors considered public comments and the final recommendations of the Study on Reviewing and Optimizing Development Services. transit, and unanimously voted to recommend the implementation of on-demand transit in Collingwood to coincide with a new transit contract, which would begin in the summer of 2022.

Mayor Brian Saunderson noted that the number of Colltrans riders had fallen during the pandemic and had not rebounded.

“I think it was the extra push that got us to meet the demand,” said Kris Wiszniak, operations and transit coordinator. “We haven’t seen a rebound like a lot of other municipalities have seen. We’re seeing labor shortages in the city, and that’s a big part of our transit ridership.

” I live in town. I see a lot of buses in which there are no people. I think switching to demand is a logical choice, ”he said.

The Town of Collingwood launched a Transit Service Review and Optimization Study in early 2020 to conduct a detailed analysis of the Colltrans transit system. Collingwood’s last transit review was completed in 2006.

The consultants who complete the review, IBI Group, also completed the previous review in 2006.

SEE MORE: Fares Increase, On-Demand Service Recommended for Collingwood’s Future of Transit

The study makes some key recommendations, including that the city adopt an on-demand service strategy from July 1, 2022 to coincide with a new operating contract, and combine conventional and specialized transport services in a single contract.

An on-demand service would mean that passengers would book their trips online in advance and buses would only be deployed for requested trips. The option to reintroduce regular routes into the service at a future date is still on the table under the on-demand system, if staff find that some routes are regularly full.

A shift to demand will also mean previously unserved areas in the south end of Collingwood will now be eligible for transit.

“I think this is the most cost effective way to be able to provide services and offer them to the whole municipality,” Wiszniak said.

Also as part of the review, an increase in fares is also recommended, as of April 2022. More specifically, the study recommends increasing individual trips from $ 2 to $ 2.50 and passes. monthly from $ 40 to $ 50 by April 2022, then increase them further to $ 3 for individual rides and $ 60 for a monthly pass within five years.

The consultant also recommends exploring regional transit service between the townships of Collingwood, Blue Mountains, Wasaga Beach, Clearview and Stayner. He specifically suggests adding service between Nottawa and Collingwood, and Stayner and Collingwood.

Finally, the study recommends evaluating the feasibility of introducing battery-powered electric buses into the fleet, and adding a full-time equivalent staff position to manage technical support for staff who currently manage the system.

The Town of Collingwood has operated CollTrans since 1982. Over the past five years, up to 2019, CollTrans served nearly 200,000 trips per year.

The staff report received by the committee indicates that the number of Colltrans riders has experienced an average monthly decline of 57.3% from 2019 to 2021, while The Blue Mountains Link has experienced an average monthly decline in ridership of 55.4%.

According to the presentation provided by Wiszniak on Monday evening, the on-demand service is expected to reduce Colltrans fuel and maintenance costs by $ 35,000 and service contract costs by $ 49,000 per year.

Com. Deb Doherty asked if the timeline for the new system to be in place by July 2022 was reasonable.

“It seems like an aggressive schedule. Is it? she asked.

Wiszniak said the intention is to implement the new system in conjunction with the new transit contract.

“Now is the perfect time to make the switch,” he said.

“Going on demand doesn’t mean we can’t go back to a fixed route. It’s an extremely flexible system, ”said Wiszniak. “In the event that we see the number of passengers increase again, we have information from the on-demand system that would essentially determine where our trip generators are located.

“The level of traffic at which we are now; it requires change, ”he said.

Decisions made by the Standing Development and Operations Committee will need to be ratified by the board later in December before they come into effect.

If the new system is approved by the board later in December, a request for proposals for the on-demand platform will come out in January 2022, with full implementation expected by August 2022.

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