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Brand new Alliston–Beeton–Bradford bus route now active

August 7, 2020   ·   0 Comments

All aboard! A brand-new transit system running from Alliston to Beeton to Bradford West Gwillimbury, launched on Tuesday, August 4, and rides are free until September 8.

The Simcoe County-funded LINX Transit Route 5 will provide hourly service with two buses Monday to Friday, starting at 7:20 a.m. and finishing at 6:10 p.m.

Representatives from Simcoe County, New Tecumseth and Bradford joined together at the Alliston Recreation Complex to celebrate this improvement in transit services, last Thursday.

“We’re very excited that we got this going because it’s the start on a much-needed transportation system that will be able to link people up to the [Bradford] Go Bus and inter-community,” noted Deputy Mayor Richard Norcross.

He said Council has pushed very hard to achieve this “first step” in providing transit to residents and will keep pushing to improve those levels of service going forward.

“There’s still more work to do be done…and we’ll continue to look, advocate and search wherever we can to make sure that we provide the service throughout the entire municipality of New Tecumseth,” Norcross said.

Following the initial announcement for the new transit system last month, many Tottenham residents expressed outrage about being left out, which led New Tecumseth Council to send a motion to the County requesting they be included.

“The Deputy Mayor and I are very hopeful that the motion will go through and we’ll do our best,” pledged Mayor Rick Milne.

County of Simcoe Warden George Cornell told the Times he’s aware of the motion regarding the inclusion of Tottenham in Route 5 and said it will be discussed and given consideration at their next meeting on August 11.

The primary reason Tottenham was left out is because the County’s philosophy under the current transit model is to “connect communities” instead of connecting “within communities,” said Cornell.

“Our objective is to help residents move from community to community and ultimately getting them to healthcare facilities, education facilities and workplace opportunities,” he explained.

Another reason why Tottenham wasn’t on the docket is because the County of Simcoe’s routes are designed to get riders to their destination in under one hour.

While it’s not yet known if the County of Simcoe will reconsider the Alliston–Beeton–Bradford route, Mayor Milne said an internal transit system may be coming to New Tecumseth next year.

The Town had an internal system about 10 years ago but it folded after ridership declined and it was no longer financially viable. Now, with the community growing, Mayor Milne said the demand could be strong enough to bring it back.

An internal bus system would be primarily funded by the municipality, but revenue from government grants, programs and incentives will also help to cover the cost.

Mayor Milne said Town Council will exhaust all options, financially, when the time comes.

“We’re going to check every room there is and sweep every corner to find money,” he said. “We’ll even go into the chesterfield and start seeing if we can find coins.”

As a whole, the pandemic has negatively impacted New Tecumseth residents economically and Mayor Milne noted that the transit system might help to relieve some stress.

“A lot of people just are having challenges with car payments, insurance and maintenance on cars, we hoped that the bus service will help out with that,” he said.

The fares are also designed to be affordable, as trips between Alliston and Beeton only cost $2 and trips between Bradford and Alliston or Beeton are $4. Seniors and youth also receive a discount.

The first month of rides being free is meant to raise awareness about the new bus route and encourage residents who may be reluctant to utilize the system.

However, since implementing LINX Routes 1-4 over the past couple years, there’s been an overwhelming response, as ridership far exceeded the County’s projections, noted Cornell.

Coming into March of 2020, ridership was 80 per cent over what was expected, but since the pandemic struck, those numbers have sharply declined.

“We’ve moderated and modified our schedules accordingly but as we continue to look at our reopening plans, and our communities do as well, we continue to re-evaluate our schedules and our times,” said Cornell.

For real-time bus tracking that lets riders know exactly where their bus is located in relation to the bus stop, visit line.simcoe.ca or download the “Transit app” on Apple and Android devices.

Mandatory masks and other COVID-19 safety precautions are in effect for those using the County of Simcoe’s transit services.

LINX Transit Route 6 is launching this fall and will connect the communities of Penetanguishene, Midland, Tay, Severn and Orillia.

By Sam Odrowski
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter



         


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