Brockville Transit bus fleet could be replaced

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It’s all about keeping people moving.


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Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes MPP Steve Clark and Brockville Mayor Jason Baker boarded an out-of-service Brockville Transit bus parked in front of city hall on Tuesday afternoon. Clark announced that the Government of Ontario has nominated a city transit project to the federal government as part of the Investing in Canada infrastructure program.

The proposal is to replace five aging conventional buses used by Brockville Transit. The total value of the project is $787,686. If approved, each level of government – federal, provincial and municipal – would fund one-third.

The city’s conventional and para transit service is the only public transit system in the Leeds and Grenville area.

“Transit is not just a large urban issue,” said Clark, who described the Brockville system as “a vital service to keep so many city residents connected to their communities.”

There is no immediate need to replace the entire aging fleet of conventional buses. Replacement typically occurs on a cyclical basis and not all at once, the mayor noted; a vehicle would be replaced every year or every other year.

Buses removed from service would then be sent to auction, according to Baker.

Receiving federal and provincial support for bus replacement would enable the city to allocate additional money to enhancing the public transit system and increasing ridership.

“We can focus on operational improvements,” the mayor said.


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Brockville council established a transit task force that is slated to report its findings to the city in September.

Council is 100-per-cent committed to maintaining the service, Baker stated.

He believes there are opportunities to get more connected with St. Lawrence College. The mayor noted that he has heard from riders about the existing bus routes and how long it takes to get to destinations.

The city will continue to “tinker” with the system in an effort to better serve as many people as possible, he indicated.

The new buses would be equipped with automated stop announcements, which Clark said would improve passenger safety and accessibility.

The service operates Monday to Saturday, with evening service on weekdays. A cash bus fare is $2.25; the price has not increased in at least seven years. All fares on Saturdays this summer are $1 as part of the Downtown Dollar Days promotion. A book of 10 Brockville Transit tickets sells for $18, and a monthly pass costs $64.

“Transit is never going to break even,” said Baker, who acknowledged the need to subsidize an important service while trying to increase use and serve as many residents and visitors as possible.

Clark noted the city bus replacement project is the third infrastructure initiative in the riding to be nominated by the provincial government. The William Street overpass rehab in Brockville was nominated in May, and County Road 43 expansion in North Grenville was put forward in mid-July. They represent a total of more than $12.2 million in investments.

“I know I speak for all city transit users and city council in encouraging our federal counterparts to act quickly so we can get those new buses on the road,” said the MPP.

In acknowledging the challenges that a stand-alone system poses to smaller communities, the Brockville mayor said he would be receptive to discussing public transit opportunities with other municipalities in the area.

“Everything is on the table,” said Baker.

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