Choose Local! Guest Blog written by Anna Currier of Selwyn Township
SAVE THE DATE!
The Link rural bus service launches May 3, 2021! The Link is a pilot project funded through the Province of Ontario’s Community Transportation Grant Program. The service will provide access to and from major hubs within Selwyn Township and Curve Lake First Nation with a connection to Peterborough Transit at Trent University. The Link will offer two different routes: Route 31: Curve Lake – Lakefield and Route 32: Bridgenorth – Ennismore. The service will operate Monday to Friday, with runs as early as 6:50 AM and as late as 11:00 PM.
The Link project partners include Selwyn Township, Curve Lake First Nation, Community Care and the City of Peterborough. Conversations among project partners started in 2017 to explore ways to work together to address rural transportation needs; a priority item identified in the Age-Friendly Peterborough Plan. The Link is inspired by Curve Lake’s 2017 Safe Travels transportation pilot, and the Lakefield Worker’s Bus that was operational from 1961 to 2015. We are thrilled to have Peterborough Transit as the operator of the service providing continuity of transit service in the region. All Public Health directed safety protocols will be consistent with The Link service, including mandatory face coverings.
Linking to Peterborough
How can someone use The Link to travel in the City of Peterborough, one might ask? At Trent, passengers can transfer from The Link onto several Peterborough Transit routes to travel all across the City! These routes include Routes 2 Chemong, Route 3 Park, Route 6 Sherbrooke, and Route 8 Monaghan. To help people plan out their trips in and out of the City of Peterborough using The Link, they can review a Schedule Alignments document on The Link webpage providing information on connecting and wait times. Passengers can also use the Google Maps App to plan their trip!
Passes & Fares
For convenience, The Link passes and fares include a single transfer to the Peterborough Transit system and transfer are valid for 90 minutes. If boarding in the City of Peterborough using a Link pass, the same transfer system applies to connecting to The Link. However, Peterborough Transit passes are not valid on The Link. If a passenger is boarding in the City of Peterborough with the intention of connecting to The Link, they must notify the bus driver and pay applicable Link fares. In regards to accessibility, the Peterborough Transit buses are fully accessible but not all bus stops on The Linkroutes are accessible. Information on accessible bus stops can be found on The Link webpage.
Designing The Link
The Link service design has been informed by a range of input. A User Survey and Student Rural Transportation Survey were conducted in 2019 and three public open houses were held at the beginning of 2020 in Curve Lake, Lakefield, Ennismore and at Trent University. Public feedback obtained through the consultation process has shaped the proposed service design, including the two routes as well as the bus stops, schedules, and branding. The Link fare structure is comparable to other rural transportation systems across Ontario ($8 one-way, $15 two-ride, $50 ten-ride and $150 monthly). Only single ride cash fare ($8) can be purchased on-board the bus, while bus passes must be purchased from a designated sales outlet. A list of sales outlets can also be found on The Link webpage. Didn’t get a chance to provide feedback? Not to worry- the service design is not set in stone and feedback will be gathered on an on-going basis.
Benefiting the Community & Environment
The Link project partners are excited to offer a reliable and affordable public transportation option providing greater independence, personal freedom and access to new possibilities locally, regionally and beyond. From an environmental perspective, The Link is facilitating alternatives to single-occupant vehicle use with an appealing public transportation option. As identified in the Township’s Climate Change Action Plan, this is a critical step toward reducing community transportation emissions. By taking The Link, you’ll be doing your part for the environment and saving money.
Launching The Link
The launch of The Link has seen some delays due to COVID-19 and the project has limited time and funding. In order for The Link to be sustainable, we need ridership. In summer, 2020, the Township of Selwyn along with project partners submit a formal request to the Ministry of Transportation to extend the granting period from March, 2023 to March, 2025 so we may have a full 4 years of operating time. Details have yet to be confirmed but we are keeping the community informed.
The community is encouraged to review the most up-to-date service design on The Link webpage: selwyntownship.ca/thelink, or join the mailing list by contacting: email@example.com. Please do not hesitate to contact the Township of Selwyn or Peterborough Transit with any questions, concerns or feedback.
Please spread the word! See you on the bus!