transit question feature

- by Jim Hutton

The Community Satisfaction Survey that showed that the average of phone and computer respondents on the question of Transit was that only 6.5% of the population uses the service frequently and an average of 72.5% said that they never used public transit.

This year we saw a Transit budget increase of $504,248 or 52.8% in a single year. By using the fare box revenue and transit budget you can estimate the cost per trip, assuming all riders pay at the fare box as shown in the table below. You can see how I calculated these figures by going to my website at www.OwenSoundTaxes.com and selecting menu item titled, “Transit Cost per User” under the “Discussion” heading.


These calculations only give us an estimate of the Cost per Ride based on the 2022 Transit Budget that predicted that ridership would drop by 50% this year and that the new contract would cost significantly more than the previous contract. However, the point is that this service is under-utilized which results in a cost per ride that is not sustainable. So how do we fix it?

In its current state Transit is failing badly and if it weren’t for the fact that it’s an essential service for some, it would have been scrapped years ago. With a firm commitment by Council, Transit can be turned into a service that is both less of burden to taxpayers and at the same time valued by more residents. However, Council must be prepared to take on risk and make a substantial financial investment.  

For years people have complained about rush hour traffic particularly in the downtown core. So if we could get people out of their cars and on to Transit we would solve two problems at the same time. We can achieve this in four steps.

  1. Modify transit schedules to provide a 10- or 15-minute rush hour service
  2. Roll out an expensive marketing campaign to raise awareness to this new commuter service
  3. Offer free commuter service for a three-month period to get people addicted to public transit
  4. In month four provide a transit portal where users could easily purchase monthly commuter passes online

Once that is in place and operating efficiently, market the service to school boards to provide students with free bus service throughout the city at a reasonable cost. Then create bus stops at transit pool areas at city boundaries for students living out of town. Students can take city transit to the transit pool area to transfer to the school board funded school bus. The school boards dramatically reduce their busing costs, Owen Sound solves its rush hour, traffic problems and transit generates new revenue with essentially no increased costs – a win-win initiative for all.







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