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County to launch regional public transit study

Posted June 23, 2014

Simcoe County will spend approximately $250,000 to determine the feasibility of operating a county-wide transit system.

Currently, the County is one of the funding sources for municipal transit systems in its member communities - Bradford, Collingwood, Midland, Wasaga Beach, and Essa (which buys services directly from the City of Barrie, serving Angus routes). New Tecumseth is the largest community in the County without public transit. The Town does provide a taxi subsidy to qualifiying seniors and disabled residents.

The County's transit initiative flows from the Transportation Master Plan report that recommends a greater role for the upper tier in moving people around.

A report to County councillors this week lays out the following study objectives:
  • To identify the capacity of existing and planned public transportation systems within the County, local municipalities, the Cities of Barrie and Orillia, neighbouring municipalities and Metrolinx (GO Transit);
  • To identify a range of partnership and delivery options, ownership, transit service types and operation models
  • To Identify funding opportunities and financing options with each operation model;
  • To provide recommendations based on sound financial analysis, industry best practices and comprehensive consultation process, and in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act;
  • To identify available and necessary soft and hard infrastructure requirements and costing;
  • To recommend an approach for the implementation of a range of public transportation operation models for 5, 10 and 15 year forecasts;
  • To assess inter-municipal connectivity, and to identify key destinations and potential transit linkages within the County, and the adjacent municipalities;
  • To provide for a coordinated and integrated approach to public transportation;
  • To provide supportive land use planning guidelines and opportunities;
  • To provide a comprehensive consultation strategy to ensure a collaborative and thorough consultation process with Council, local and adjoining municipalities, and public and private stakeholders throughout the study process;
  • To provide a staged implementation and monitoring strategy in 5 year increments; and,
  • To align with local, regional, provincial and private transit providers to ensure that all resulting recommendations ultimately provide for a seamless inter-municipal transit system.
"In order to investigate the widest range of feasible options, a major part of the study will be consultation with other levels of government, private and public service providers, stakeholders and the public."

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