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Bradford West Gwillimbury Transit

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http://www.simcoe.co...ut-by-september

Public transit could roll out by September

If all goes according to plan, public transit could be seen in Bradford as early as the fall.

That was the hope expressed by Bradford West Gwillimbury Deputy Mayor Rob Keffer following the first of two public transit open houses held at the library last week. The initial session, which ran from 4 until 6 p.m., was well attended and the presentation, delivered by Wally Beck of consulting firm HDR Inc., resulted in a lively discussion.

“You can certainly tell there’s an interest and some of the people are very knowledgeable about transit systems in other areas,” Mr. Keffer said. “It would be nice to have something in place for September.”

The objective of the transit feasibility study was to quantify the need for transit service in Bradford, determine the service priorities, figure out how service can be delivered today and on a go-forward basis, provide an estimate for the start-up, operating and net costs to the municipality over the first five years and to develop a preferred alternative or alternatives, Mr. Beck explained. To get to this point, a number of stakeholder consultations were held last year with members of the public, the business community and local service

providers, he said, adding the meetings were an essential exercise toward coming up with a plan.

“It’s one thing to say ‘It would be nice to have public transit’, but how many people are going to use it?” Mr. Beck said. “We had to determine some transit service priorities.”

According to HDR’s statistics, more than 26,000 trips occur between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. on an average day in Bradford West Gwillimbury. Of those trips, commutes to Toronto or York Region account for a significant share of that figure, while trips northward to Innisfil or Barrie and traffic from other areas coming into town represent a smaller overall proportion.

That being said, it’s estimated that 6,500 trips occur within the community on a daily basis. During its study, HDR found that there is a heavy concentration of goods and services in the west end along Holland Street and a sizeable number of discretionary trips, such as appointments, shopping and other errands, are made by the local senior citizen population during mid-day.

Another noteworthy observation is that the town’s student population is currently reliant on rides from friends and family to get to school, after-school activities and part-time jobs.

“There’s a latent demand in place right there,” Mr. Beck said.

Over the course of the consultation process, participants generally felt that a lack of public transportation would be a roadblock for the town’s future growth as the shift of goods and services out of the downtown core to the west end has resulted in mobility challenges for residents who need to access them and that having a transit system in place would improve the situation for retail employers, part-time employees and families with teenaged children.

Not surprisingly, a link from the new retail centres and the town centre was identified as priority No. 1, while establishing a link to the GO Transit station at Bridge and Dissette streets was cited as a second priority. Some suggested a link from Bradford to Upper Canada Mall would be desirable, as well.

It was generally agreed, however, that a shared ride taxi service would suffice for residents in more rural areas, such as Bond Head, and that a specialized transit for those with mobility aids would be needed.

While a number of potential models were showcased, the primary one was billed as the community bus concept. This would provide a fixed route service that can be accessed by all residents linking several origins and destinations and would be geared to a non-work trip.

There would also be a connection with GO Transit and emphasis on fare integration with GO, York Region Transit and Barrie Transit.

With such a route, the bus would travel along Holland Street for some sections, but also through a number of the area neighbourhoods in two looping routes.

Each leg would take about a half-hour to complete.

Some present at last week’s meeting questioned why the bus wouldn’t simply run back and forth along Holland, to which Mr. Beck responded that’s an option, but wouldn’t make it accessible to as many riders.

In its first year, the community bus service is proposed to run Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, while the shared route taxi service for GO commuters and rural residents would run for four hours per day Monday through Friday. HDR estimates 3.5 riders per hour for the community bus service and two per our for the taxis.

The hope is that by year five, the town will have Monday to Sunday service and see 10.5 riders per hour, while the shared-ride taxis, still operating five days per week for four hours per day, will have increased to six riders every hour.

“It takes about a high school generation (four years) before transit takes hold,” Mr. Beck said. “Sometimes it can be quicker.”

It’s important to note that the cost to get transit going won’t be small.

With provincial gas tax accounted for, the estimated net operating cost to the town for the first year will be about $141,000. As the service grows and expands, the anticipated operating cost by year five is just shy of $334,000 per year.

Similarly, there will also be capital costs with the endeavour.

HDR recommends that Bradford purchase two community buses, one being a spare, for about $200,000 each to start and then add a third in year three. They also recommend that the town set aside as much as $80,000 into a capital reserve.

Stops and shelters are expected to cost $50,000 in the first year and then $10,000 per year afterward. Federal gas tax could help with these costs.

One of those present, Barbara C., an eight-year veteran of First Transit, whose contract with York Region Transit was recently terminated, said she thinks that Bradford has the right ideas, but may want to stick to basics in the early goings.

“They’re on the right track,” she said. “I feel from personal experience they should take a more meat and potatoes approach to this.”

For example, the proposed routing has the bus travelling along Britannia Avenue, which can be dicey enough in a small car if vehicles are parked along it, let alone a large vehicle such as a bus. Secondly, she also argued that Bradford should pursue full public ownership as opposed to a public management and private operations/maintenance model used with YRT and elsewhere.

In any event, there’s a lot of interest in public transit in Bradford, Mayor Doug White said, and the town is doing what it can to bring it forward. The information compiled by HDR will be invaluable to council going forward because it gives a clear picture of the demand for transit, how much it will cost and who will ultimately use it, he said, adding that transit is an expensive proposition and a big undertaking so it’s important to know what you’re getting into.

The 2012 budget earmarked $100,000 for transit and it’s expected some gas tax funding will be forthcoming remains to be seen, Mr. White said. Once a system of some sort is up and running the town can also collect development charges intended to help fund future growth-related expansions.

The information gathered from the open houses will be incorporated into the final report and recommendations to town council, director of engineering, Debbie Korolnek, explained and, if approved, discussions with the province some of the other service providers will commence.

From there, the town will have to determine what sort of service it will roll out initially and then identify a staff “champion” for the new amenity and set up a transit committee or add the mandate to another existing committee. Marketing will also be key.

For more information on public transit plan so far, visit townofbwg.com.

More information can be found here: http://www.townofbwg.com/TownHall/MunicipalTransit/index.htm

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With all the development near Highway 400 and the huge growth in the area (there's been a noticable change even in the past 2-3 years, not just long-term) I am not surprised that they are considering this. The main residential areas are located away from the main commercial areas now (shifting from the old main street area to near the 400) so I can see this as a major benefit for the community. This will also greatly help those who take GO Transit providing a link from the communities away from the main street to the GO route.

I'm surprised they didn't think of a shuttle service to Georgian Downs. That would be immensely popular.

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There was an earlier proposal several years back to introduce service to Bradford via a YRT extension. It was hoped that the extension would provide a connection between Bradford and Southlake Hospital and Upper Canada Mall. Council at the time rejected the idea. Glad to see they've since reconsidered the matter.

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Update:

Bradford transit inches closer to reality

One interesting discussion is what to call the system: Bradford, Bradford-West Gwillimbury (BWG), or something else altogether. Seeing as they want to serve places beyond Bradford like Bond Head as well as possibly Newmarket and Barrie you'd want something descriptive without being too long.

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I wonder if they will use cutaways or regular transit buses.

Well with the costs in the article, it sounds like cutaways

edit opps $200000 each so they could order regular 30 or 35 foot buses

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Bradford Transit Implementation Report

Some highlights include:

Commencing March 4th, 2013.

2 routes, operated by Parkview Transit and/or Town Taxi, running Monday to Friday.

1 route is a community bus with 2 hour headways, other is a route along Holland St with 30 minute headways.

Timed transfer at Walmart and Bradford GO.

Fixed route shared taxi service from Bond Head.

Taxi to GO service to operate as early as November 2012.

Cash fare: $3.00, prepaid discounted fare of $2.00 in 2013, $2.50 in 2014, and $2.75 in 2015.

Smart card for discounted fares (Presto?).

2 hour transfer period.

School Special for Bradford District High School in 2014.

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What vehicles are they planning to use, cutaways?

The report is rather silent about the type of bus to be used, that I can find. Based on calculations from the budget in the last PDF report, it lists "Capital debenture 2 buses over 5 years" at $90,000 per year - multiply by 5 then divide by 2 gives $225,000 per bus. That's about half the price of E-Z Riders, but it seems a little expensive for a cutaway.

I also noticed they are talking about smart cards in the fare collection section. It doesn't specifically mention Presto though, so I'm wondering if they are going on their own with a proprietary technology similar to St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.

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The report is rather silent about the type of bus to be used, that I can find. Based on calculations from the budget in the last PDF report, it lists "Capital debenture 2 buses over 5 years" at $90,000 per year - multiply by 5 then divide by 2 gives $225,000 per bus. That's about half the price of E-Z Riders, but it seems a little expensive for a cutaway.

I also noticed they are talking about smart cards in the fare collection section. It doesn't specifically mention Presto though, so I'm wondering if they are going on their own with a proprietary technology similar to St. Catharines and Niagara Falls.

I'd love to see atleast 1 40 footer in the fleet.

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LOL, They could use them for a Tecumseth-Bradford-Newmarket Link? Similar to Airdrie's ICE.

Keep dreaming. You can't get a 40 footer for $225,000.

They could buy DRT's Orion 5's secondhand.

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The report is rather silent about the type of bus to be used, that I can find. Based on calculations from the budget in the last PDF report, it lists "Capital debenture 2 buses over 5 years" at $90,000 per year - multiply by 5 then divide by 2 gives $225,000 per bus. That's about half the price of E-Z Riders, but it seems a little expensive for a cutaway.

Mmmmmm maybe Metrolinx consortium order?

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From the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury website (link):

COMPETITIVE BID

RFP – P 13 56 – SUPPLY AND DELIVERY OF

TWO (2) LOW FLOOR TRANSIT BUSES WITH AN OPTION TO

PURCHASE AN ADDITIONAL BUS

Closing: 2:00 pm Tuesday August 27th, 2013

Proposal documents may be obtained by registering for this opportunity

on-line on the Town’s Website as follows:

www.town.bradfordwestgwillimbury.on.ca/TownHall/Purchasing/TendersandRFPs/index.htm

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I just looked at the bidders list. Among them:

Creative Carriage (ARBOC)

Creative Carriage (Champion)

Girardin

Leeds Transit

MacNab Transit Sales (Startrans)

And the shocking one, New Flyer.

Any guesses who might get this contract?

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It's sad how Bolton and Georgetown are bigger than Bradford but they don't have transit yet.

Not to mention Grimsby. Hell, Simcoe is smaller than all of these places and yet it has a transit system (RideNorfolk).

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Yet? What makes you think they ever will?

I think you misread the post... :-)

Not to mention Grimsby. Hell, Simcoe is smaller than all of these places and yet it has a transit system (RideNorfolk).

If we're going to play that game, then Norfolk County, Caledon, Halton Hills, Haldimand County, Georgina, Brant County, Lakeshore, Innisfil

New Tecumseth, LaSalle, Centre Wellington and Prince Edward are all without transit and more populous than Bradford West Gwillimbury!

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If we're going to play that game, then Norfolk County, Caledon, Halton Hills, Haldimand County, Georgina, Brant County, Lakeshore, Innisfil

New Tecumseth, LaSalle, Centre Wellington and Prince Edward are all without transit and more populous than Bradford West Gwillimbury!

Listing off random counties with total populations greater than Bradford-West Gwillimbury isn't going to help your case. A significant portion of Bradford-West Gwillimbury's population is located within one comparatively dense urban area, while the counties you've mentioned all have the populations spread out over a much larger geographic area.

Example: StatsCan has the population of Bradford (community) at 21,769, about 2/3 of the whole town's population. On the other hand, Picton, the largest community in Prince Edward County, has only around 4300 residents of the total county's 25,258 population.

This transit system will only serve the community of Bradford, which has the highest population density and is the easiest to serve by transit, instead of the model which will string together every little village or community in the municipality, which is quite inefficient since the bus is spending most of its time driving through empty countryside burning fuel.

Other posters have mentioned communities with similar characteristics to Bradford (not Bradford-West Gwillimbury), which have larger population centres in an otherwise rural area. Grimsby, Georgetown (not overall Halton Hills) and Bolton (not overall Caledon) are what were mentioned. You're just mentioning the large rural area, which cannot support a local transit system.

Instead of comparing apples to oranges and saying one town shouldn't get transit service until multiple "larger" ones do, why not spend your time applauding Bradford-West Gwillimbury's council for taking the progressive step of funding and believing in transit in their community, and use them as an example to advocate that these "larger population" counties start to fund transit?

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Listing off random counties with total populations greater than Bradford-West Gwillimbury isn't going to help your case.

What do you mean, "help your case"?? I wasn't trying to make a case for anything!

(And they wren't random counties - they were all the municipalities in Canada without transit systems and populations greater Bradford-West Gwillimbury)

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