WELLINGTON COUNTY – At this week’s remote county meeting, council approved extending their rideshare service Ride Well to include pick-ups and drop-off into the City of Guelph starting April 1.
A report to council said a recurring theme in feedback is to extend service into Guelph as opposed to drop-offs at the north and south Guelph transfer points.
“We just want to make it less complicated for people,” said Crystal Ellis, director of economic development. “We felt we may get more use out of the program if we do have that direct drop-off.”
Ride Well has continued to see growth each month since it started in October. February marked the most rides with 260 compared to 235 in January and 164 in December.
The report notes a decrease in pick-ups and drop-offs in Centre Wellington and an increase to the transfer points, Wellington North, Puslinch and Guelph/Eramosa.
Given this increase, operator RideCo has recommended increasing the previously reduced vehicle hours from 155 to 180 hours per week.
“This ensures that we are meeting the increased demand and not hindering the momentum to the ridership increases that are occurring,” the report by Ellis says.
RideCo has indicated that the service area can be easily adjusted to allow pick-up and drop-off in Guelph as they already have the required license. The change provides riders with direct county to Guelph and Guelph to county rides. However, Guelph to Guelph ride requests will be restricted from being booked.
The report says benefits to this would be an easier flow of service because riders wouldn’t have to navigate from transfer points and revenue would increase due to longer distance rides into Guelph and increased ridership.
Fitting this change into the budget could have implications on the quality of service.
“To accommodate increased ridership within our existing budget, the service may require longer wait times and longer ride times to encourage shared-ride frequency,” the report says.
Ellis said there’s understandably a considerable decrease in rides in March but the service is still operating for those who need it to get essentials.
“We want to make sure we do have that open for people who do need to get into a car and go some place to have that option for transportation,” Ellis said. “If you don’t have a car right now or someone to rely on then that’s a really difficult situation for people.”