Just six faces showed up at a recent public meeting called to inform residents about a bus transit proposal for Innisfil. If you missed it, like I did, you can click to view the Slide Presentation (2013 09 12 Public Transit Open House). And you can let the Town know what you want by completing the Transit Survey (available online to October 11, or print a paper version).
A possible Innisfil-Barrie route would link Innisfil neighbourhoods with the Town Hall, Stroud, downtown Alcona, Barrie South GO train station, and Barrie’s Park Place. Riders might also transfer to the Barrie transit system.
The idea is a long way from being finalized because it involves difficult choices in a mix of public subsidy, user fees and level of service. Our politicians would like to know:
- Do enough Innisfil residents want a bus service?
- What would bus riders be willing to pay?
- Are Innisfil residents willing to support transit through a 1% property tax hike?
- Would the proposed route attract enough riders to be justifiable and would it meet their needs?
- How well could an alternate transit route only within Innisfil meet users needs?
My first impression is that likely transit riders would be those with fewer options – no vehicle or less income, i.e. – seniors, students, new parents, and low-income earners. But with constantly rising gasoline prices more and more of us might be potential transit users. Some residents could benefit from greater mobility but would be less able to shoulder as much of the true cost through fares. (A modest service may cost around $500,000 or more to operate annually.) Would enough Innisfil residents be willing to chip in through property tax to make a limited transit service feasible and affordable even if they wouldn’t use it themselves? Does the proposed route take Innisfil riders where they really want to go?
What happens from here will depend on what Council hears from residents in the coming weeks. Here’s your chance to get ‘on board’ … or not.