Bus ser­vice could run again to Sel­wyn

The Peterborough Examiner - - FRONT PAGE - JOELLE KOVACH EX­AM­INER STAFF WRITER

A new pub­lic tran­sit ser­vice to Lake­field, Curve Lake, En­nis­more and Bridgenort­h could be start­ing next spring or sum­mer as a three-year pi­lot project.

A 15-pas­sen­ger city tran­sit bus would be used on week­days.

The ser­vice could later ex­pand to al­low longer hours, more buses and more routes, po­ten­tially to Peter­bor­ough Air­port, for ex­am­ple.

A provin­cial govern­ment grant of $1.48 mil­lion has been given to Sel­wyn Town­ship to op­er­ate the ser­vice, and at a meet­ing on Mon­day city coun­cil will con­sider en­ter­ing into a three-year con­tract to run the ser­vice for the town­ship.

It could be pop­u­lar: there’s cur­rently no bus ser­vice be­tween Peter­bor­ough and Sel­wyn Town­ship and a city staff re­port es­ti­mates 20,000 rides in the first year of the new ser­vice.

Rid­ers would be able to catch the bus to Sel­wyn at Trent Uni­ver­sity and at Portage Place mall, states the re­port, and they could pay one fare to trans­fer from a city bus route to the town­ship routes.

Although the re­port es­ti­mates the ser­vice would cost the city $360,800 to op­er­ate in its first year, that cost would be more

than off­set by con­tract and fare rev­enue — it’s ex­pected to turn an an­nual profit of about $33,200.

A sep­a­rate city staff re­port — also to be re­viewed Mon­day by city coun­cil­lors — ex­plains how the city could find the money to buy new buses for use in Sel­wyn.

The city, provin­cial and fed­eral govern­ment can split the cost to buy four 15-pas­sen­ger buses un­der the new In­vest­ing in Canada In­fra­struc­ture Pro­gram, states the re­port.

Staff pro­poses the pur­chase of four buses: two to ex­pand the Com­mu­nity Bus pi­lot pro­gram, which takes peo­ple on a route from apart­ment build­ings to the mall and med­i­cal cen­tres, and two more buses to use for the Sel­wyn routes, with one bus al­ways on the road, plus a spare bus.

The to­tal cost would be $800,000, but the city’s share would be $213,360 — and staff rec­om­mends dip­ping into the city’s tran­sit re­serve fund for that money.

Although it would leave the fund with about $28,000, the re­port sug­gests putting the an­nual profit of $33,000 back into the re­serve to re­plen­ish it.

On Mon­day, city coun­cil­lors will be asked to en­ter into an agree­ment with Sel­wyn Town­ship and to pre­com­mit to buy­ing those four buses in 2020.

That would al­low city staff to or­der four new buses now for de­liv­ery in nine to 11 months.

If city coun­cil­lors don’t want to buy four buses, the re­port states, at 2019 prices, then it’s sug­gested they buy at least two more to ex­pand the Com­mu­nity Bus ser­vice within Peter­bor­ough.

There hasn’t been a bus be­tween the city and Sel­wyn Town­ship for awhile: dwin­dling rid­er­ship shut down the Lake­field worker bus in 2015 af­ter 50 years of oper­a­tion.

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