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Thursday, January 16, 2020

Grey County Transit System Developing

Grey County | by Claire McCormack  

County aims to have GTR buses running from Owen Sound to Collingwood, Orangeville and Wiarton.

Proposed Logo  

A 'Grey Transit Route' could soon run from Owen Sound to the Town of the Blue Mountains, to Orangeville and to Wiarton.

On January 9th, Grey County Council directed staff to lease buses and contract drivers for the upcoming service called the Grey Transit Route.

The transit service would be a pilot program to continue until 2023.

County Community Transportation Manager Stephanie Stewart says, a Grey Transit Route would offer regular service along Highway 26 between Owen Sound and Town of The Blue Mountains and along Highway 10 between Owen Sound and Orangeville.

A third route is planned between Owen Sound and Wiarton three days a week and a specialized service will support youth going to the Launch Pad in Hanover.

Council also asked staff to investigate a route along Grey Road 4 through Durham, Hanover and Walkerton, and bring information back to a future meeting.

All this comes after the County did a survey that had over 1,000 respondents.

Stewart says "A lot of people had indicated that they wanted to be able to use the service to travel to the GTA."

She notes the Orangeville route will connect into GO transit and the Blue Mountains route would connect into Collingwood Transit and Simcoe LINX Transit which goes to Wasaga, Midland and Barrie.

"We are looking at a phased approach, so we may not see all the bus routes up and running on the exact same day," explains Stewart who says one route will likely start up first so kinks can be worked out and then other routes would follow, maybe a month or so later.

Fares would be between $3 and $5 depending on the route. Stewart says they're still looking at varying bus types and sizes, and notes bus type may vary depending on the route.

She says buses will be wrapped with Grey Transit Route decals making them easily identified as a regional transit system.

The County plans to work with First Student for its drivers and with Metrolinx for buses.

A January 9th report to Committee of the Whole estimates the cost of running the system to be between $454,000 and $612,000 a year. A report expected in February will  likely have more concrete numbers.

$1.85 million of the money is coming from the Province's Community Transportation Grant Funding program which requires the program to start running this spring.

Southgate is putting another $500,000 in grant dollars into the project.

The County's Committee of the Whole supported the resolutions that would get the project moving. Council now has to formally approve it at its next meeting on January 23rd.

The County is asking people to support the project by signing an online petition at www.grey.ca/gtr. The petition is required to license vehicles for the project.

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