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In-town public transit in Angus to end Dec. 31, no replacement at hand

Posted December 2, 2019

Essa Township came up empty with zero replies to its request for proposal seeking to continue public transit services within Angus, after its six year deal with Barrie Transit expires, and won't be renewed.

Since 2013, Barrie has provided contracted round trip bus services between Borden and Barrie several stops within Angus, at a cost of $180,000 in 2019.

Simcoe County's regional transit Lynx, has been operating routes between Angus and Barrie and Angus and Wasaga Beach, but without in-town stops, since August.

"Essa will have no community bus service beginning January 1st. Renewing with the City of Barrie is not an option at this point as they have cancelled their route, and re-establishing this route would not be easy for them," according a report to Essa councillors on Wednesday night's agenda. "The earlier suggested taxi option may or may not be feasible (accessibility, drivers and accounting are considerable factors to sort out) and Uber does not seem realistic as they struggle for drivers in the Angus area."

The recommendation to council is to continue studying options, including a possible partnership at some point with New Tecumseth.

"Of course Council could issue a new Request for Proposals for either an accessible van or a cut-away bus, for a period of at least five years, to run an Angus route weekday mornings and late afternoons/evenings (proposed three times in the morning and three times in the late afternoons/evenings)."

It's suggested the Township would be looking at budgetting $380,000 in 2020 to maintain bus service in Angus, including the start-up cost of purchasing a bus, and back-up vehicle. In that instance, Essa would apply for gas tax money for public transit.

"If Council chooses to attempt to re-establish a community bus service in Angus, it is also strongly recommended that a staff person be hired to coordinate the service, fare collection and expenses, and that the bus stops continue to be worked on to achieve improvements to the connecting stop with the Linx service," according to the report. These additional two suggestions could total another $100,000. .... "(continue to study the topic of establishing further bus service in Essa) is recommended at this time until such time that it becomes apparent that a community bus is feasible for Essa in light of need and budgetary considerations."

All stories, unless otherwise noted,
by Tony Veltri