Orangeville launches fare-free transit with ribbon cutting

January 27, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Peter Richardson

Earlier this week, residents saw the official launch of free transit in Orangeville. 

Despite the initiative being in progress since Jan. 2, the official launch had to be delayed due to inclement weather. 

Nevertheless, Mayor Lisa Post cut the ceremonial ribbon on Tuesday (Jan. 24), alongside several councillors and town staff members. 

Following the ribbon cutting, the entourage rode on one of the bus routes through town – fare-free. 

When questioned about the practicality of offering free bus rides, Mayor Post explained that this was a new idea in Canada and Orangeville was the first local exponent of the initiative. She went on to say she has already heard numerous positive comments, especially from people using the Orangeville Food Bank, where before this, they have had to pay $6.00 weekly to travel to and from the Food Bank. Sometimes this meant doing without staples such as dairy or meat products. 

The Transit system is primarily funded by the federal gas tax rebate, which is determined by ridership. This has already increased under the pilot program, costing the town less to fund the pilot. 

The mayor admitted that some funding will come from taxes but emphasized that no increase is expected to accommodate the program. 

Meanwhile, residents can now ride for free over the next two years, with the hope of increasing ridership steadily. Should the program ultimately prove unsuccessful, the mayor said the town would return to the fare-based system, but for now, the ride is gratis. The service is undergoing constant improvements, including a new transit terminal. 

Fare-free transit is making Orangeville a leader in innovative approaches to accommodate its residents needs and wishes better.

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