Sunday, August 30, 2015

Starting Public Transit in Pelham

In early 2015, Town Council and Senior Staff engaged in a strategic planning session to help identify goals and priorities for moving Pelham forward. One of our key priorities from our overarching goals was to “Offer public transportation to Pelham residents.” Why? It’s consistently something that folks of all ages have requested over the years.

Later in January, the Town applied for funding for the Ministry of Transportation’s “Community Transportation Pilot Grant Program,” which helps municipalities implement or improve public transportation. In March, the MTO approved the maximum -- $100,000 – to help cover the majority of the costs to implement transit system in Pelham.

Staff consulted with Pelham Cares; local Senior Housing Facilities and Associations; Pelham Senior Advisory Council; Mayors Youth Advisory Council; existing shuttle services; and Niagara Region and area transportation specialists. The Town also undertook a community consultation and received more than 200 responses with suggestions for routing, timing, pick-up / drop-off locations. Finally, the Town considered the times that we currently provide transit – for Summerfest, for the Thursday night events (Suppermarket, Bandshell, Farmer’s Market), and for Canada Day.

In August, the Town issued a request for proposal for a provider for Conventional Transit Service (offered 5 hours a day), a Trans-Cab Service (up to 5 hours a day, Monday to Saturday  and pre qualified by appointment), and Shuttle Service for special events and Festivals from September 2015 to March 2017 (19 months).

Staff reviewed the proposals, met with the potential providers, and recommend awarding the contract to Sharp Bus Line Ltd. at a special Council meeting on August 31. (Please click here for a link to the meeting's agenda and the staff report.)

This pilot’s expense budget is just under $175,000 – $118K for conventional transit, $22K for the Trans-Cab service, and $35K for advertising, signs, etc. The Provincial $100,000 grant and all revenues (fares and advertising) will significantly reduce this expense.

This service will not only link Fonthill and Fenwick, provide linkages for shopping and appointments, but will also link to other Regional transit – making it easier for Brock and Niagara College students / employees.

If approved, the new services could begin on September 8! Routes will be based on the public consultation and may be adjusted over the first few weeks of the service if necessary.

Please check out local media, the Town’s webpage and social media for more information about the implementation details.

Thanks so much to the Provincial Government and all who filled in the surveys and provided feedback and ideas. With their help, Council and I look forward to the Town offering this new service!
September 3, 2015 Update:
Council did approve the agreement and the service will start on Tuesday, September 8.
For more details, including the temporary route, please see: