Getting Orangeville moving

April 11, 2019   ·   0 Comments

By Sandy Brown

It’s simple, transit can have a positive contribution to our community, economy and the environment and benefits both users and non-users. These include bus transit systems with fixed routes and schedules, as well as specialized systems that provide door-to-door services.

Given the challenges you have voiced, we have work to do to improve our transportation and get you where you need to be.

During March, Town Council made a proactive step towards improving our current transit system and preparing for future needs with their unanimous support to create a Transit Review Task Force.  

Putting Transit at the Centre of the Community

In addition to cleaner air, less traffic congestion and increased mobility for everyone, Public Transit can play a significant role in society.  Transit moves people to work, shopping, medical appointments, recreation and social gatherings.  

Partnering with businesses and neighbouring municipalities, employers have access to a broader labour force to build their team. Reliable transportation increases the local opportunities for employees, job seekers and youth.   Partnering with Dufferin County to provide transit services to surrounding municipalities would benefit Orangeville businesses.    

All of this movement encourages local spending – up to 87% increase in local spending is attributed to good transit according to research done by the Canadian Urban Transit Association. It makes sense when routes take you where you want to be, with minimal fuss, that you will explore the Downtown shops, local eateries, unique stores and the many events and festivals that are a large part of the Orangeville community without the traffic and hassle to find parking.  

Implement Local Green and Energy Initiatives

Now, more than ever we also need to consider our environment and change our thinking about personal vehicles with a single occupant. We know that the cost of this convenience includes more than the money for direct operating expenses, and we’re all paying the rest of the bill for road maintenance and pollution. By moving people more efficiently, both traditional and specialized transit options produce significantly less air pollution, gas consumption and greenhouse gases than a personal vehicle. 

Redefining How We Move

By not only looking at our current transit options – ridership, routes, cost, availability, cleanliness, what’s working, what isn’t, the Transit Review Task Force will also take a broad approach to transit and the options available. Exploring on-demand options such as UBER, partnerships with business and municipalities, taxi regulations and compliance, advertising on buses and having a roadmap for public input and future growth plans.  Active transportation (expanded bike routes and trails) can also assist with getting people around Town and around our Region.  

Leading the country on innovative transit alternatives is former Mayor Gord Wauchope and his successor Mayor Lynn Dollin from the Town of Innisfil. After a successful pilot project with UBER that replaced building fixed-route bus lines, residents can pay a flat fare $3 and $5 for trips to or from one of the list of set destinations like the Town Hall area and the Barrie South GO station, or get $5 off their fare for journeys elsewhere in the town. Riders are often paired with others heading in the same direction through the company’s UberPool service.

Currently, Orangeville is subsidizing each transit fare by almost $5.00

Innisfil has credited the partnership in providing a way to operate a modern transit system while saving the local government a substantial amount of money over traditional options. Larger cities are also following Innisfil’s lead. Calgary intends to launch a pilot of subsidised ride-hailing or taxi service this year and Toronto is expected to table a similar program later this year.

The Transit Review Task Force will learn first-hand what went into making this the decision process, how the program was implemented, the challenges and the cost savings to the town directly from Innisfil. 

This is just one of the exciting examples of innovative solutions that are being developed to make transit more accessible, responsive and reliable for residents. Transit only works when you can get where you need to go when you want to.

Get your ideas ready, Orangeville! For this to happen, the task force will need to take a grassroots approach. Your voice and identifying the needs of residents and businesses must be the driving factor in finding a solution. 

The right answer is going to come from listening to you, exploring innovative ideas and having engaged people on the task force.  

Currently, staff are preparing a report to Council with recommended Terms of Reference and who the stakeholder members will be for this new task force. We’re looking forward to gathering information and making some bold decisions to improve taxi, public transit, carpooling, etc. in Orangeville and the surrounding area. 

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.