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Centre Wellington inches toward transit solution

The anticipated timeline for the township's transit service strategy will be shortened by two years if its grant application for a transit service study is successful
Centre Wellington council chambers

CENTRE WELLINGTON – Councillors hope a new grant application will bring the township one step closer to a "made-in-Centre Wellington transit solution." 

Centre Wellington council has directed staff to apply for a grant to fund a Transit Service Study reviewing existing mobility options, projecting future transit service demand, assessing service alternatives and developing a recommended strategy and implementation plan for transit service.

Approved during a council meeting Monday afternoon, staff said the study will help create a township Transit Service Strategy that leverages the successes of RideWell, and Elora-Fergus Shuttle Bus and will explore transit connections to rural areas, regional connections to existing transit hubs in Guelph and Waterloo and expanded transit services in Elora and Fergus.

According to a staff report, the township’s fixed route shuttle bus saw "a significant increase in ridership" in 2023 compared to 2022 and 70 per cent of all RideWell trips originate or end in Centre Wellington.

With operations on weekends only, the shuttle had 1,469 trips in 2023.

As the strategy is anticipated to cost $120,000 total, staff said should the township receive the $50,000 grant, they recommend the town fund the additional $70,000 using the General Capital Reserve. 

While $100,000 is allocated in the township's 10-year capital forecast to complete the strategy in 2026, staff said funding approval would accelerate its completion by two years and "ensure" growth-related transit projects and initiatives are included in the township's next Development Charges Background Study which is planned for 2025. 

Creating and implementing a Transit Service Strategy was originally recommended in the 2019 Transportation Master Plan.

Isabel Buckmaster is the Local Journalism Initiative reporter for GuelphToday. LJI is a federally-funded program.

About the Author: Isabel Buckmaster, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Isabel Buckmaster covers Wellington County under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada
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