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Town Transit days are numbered now

Town Transit will lose its $70,000 municipal subsidy December 31, after New Tecumseth councillors voted last night to phase out any further involvement in financing a fixed route transit system.

It brings to a close a near two year pilot project started in July 2003 by David Warner. The decision comes after three poorly attended public meetings were held to solicit public input into long term alternatives.

The Town's Special projects manager Wayne Bando, tabled seven options, one of which included making a clean break from the program. And while councillors ultimately voted for that scenario, they did leave the door open to investigating a voucher system for "pre-qualified patrons" who would then use them on cabs or other private providers.

In his report, Mr. Bando notes that the main employer serviced by the bus is the Nottawasaga Inn to the east, and the shopping centres in west end Alliston. In between were medical appointments. The bus ran from 7 a.m. to about 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, which basically shut students out of the picture.

"The pilot project has migrated from a bus service operating on a fixed route and schedule to a semi specialized service that leaves the scheduled route to address special needs in the community. It is suspected that this has increased the ridership over what would have been achieved on a fixed route system," according to Mr. Bando's report. "The provision of a fixed route, fixed schedule transit service did not fully address the needs of the community or attract the desired ridership increases."

Mr. Warren, who owns the two buses he operates as Town Transit is not likely to continue the service in the new year. He has since joined a working partnership with deputy mayor Rick Milne which involves a private ambulance service in south Simceo County. Mr. Milne has declared a conflict of interest on the transit.

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