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TROUT Public Transit looks back at 2013 with mixed feelings

TROUT Rural Public TransitWe at TROUT Public Transit look back on 2013 with mixed feelings. We are thankful for the visionaries who support public transportation in our community – the municipal politicians, business owners, and others who know the value of public transportation for our non-driving friends and neighbours and for economic growth. They know that public transportation is a key component of sustainability for rural communities.

We are proud that rural communities throughout North America look to Trout Public Transit for counsel and inspiration for their public transportation initiatives. And we are deeply grateful to the Province of Ontario and Community Care North Hastings for their support and encouragement.

However, we have much work to do. We receive no support from the County of Hastings (future historians may be curious about that) and no support, or only token support, from seven of the eight municipalities we served last year.

Thank you to the Municipality of Highlands East in Haliburton County for your full support in 2013. We look forward to nurturing our relationship with you to address your public transportation needs.

Looking ahead, TROUT Public Transit remains committed to helping people in North Hastings and Highlands East access the goods and services they need to live with independence and dignity in our community.

Also, we will be seeking expanded support from local municipalities and the business community for the economic growth and development potential that a public transportation service offers. The extent of that support will dictate our direction in 2014 and beyond.

John Keith,  MA

Manager, Transportation Services

 

Rural Ontario Municipalities Curious About Public Transportation

rural public transitSomebody out there sees the value of public transportation service in rural Ontario communities. And that’s encouraging.

Rural municipalities are beginning to see that public transportation boosts local economies by connecting people to goods, services, and jobs, with a benefit-to-cost ratio of more than 3 to 1 for rural communities not uncommon.

They’re noting that public transportation is of vital importance for attracting prospective new residents – ranked second, right behind adequate healthcare.

And, they are becoming more sensitive to the requirements of their non-driving ratepayers. Public transportation fosters independence and dignity, and it enriches quality of life by providing social and cultural opportunities otherwise restricted to some of their friends and neighbours.

I’ve been invited by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to conduct a presentation on rural public transportation at the Ontario East Municipal Conference in Kingston on Thursday, September 12.

It will be interesting to see how many folks pop in for the hour-long session and what their backgrounds and interests are.

As a former educator, I cannot help but inject an interactive component into the get together to TROUT PASSENGERS 001bring out some ideas and perceptions about providing public transportation for an increasing number of non-drivers in rural Ontario communities.

We will discuss benefits of rural public transportation.  We’ll identify barriers, with cost right up there at the top of the list, I expect.  And we’ll look at ways to address barriers.

I will also provide participants with a brief overview of the TROUT Transit operation, and offer some insights based on research and my experiences as manager of a rural public transportation service.

TROUT Public Transit is in its fourth year of operation serving seven municipalities in rural Hastings County and one municipality in the County of Haliburton. Ridership increased 24% in the last fiscal year, and the need for public transportation in our communities continues to rise.

Hats off to rural Ontario municipalities for their curiosity about public transportation. It’s the first step toward evolving local transportation infrastructures to meet the needs of increasing numbers of non-driving ratepayers,  grow local economies, and contribute to a sustainable future.

Trout Rural Public Transit  005

International Public Transit: Advocating For Transportation Systems Change

SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 15, 2013 — Elevators on subways stop working, bus stops aren’t announced and pathways or sidewalks are inaccessible. Every day, these types of problems create major issues for people living with disabilities when simply trying to get from one place to another. A U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics study found that 6 million people living with disabilities had difficulties accessing needed transportation. Concerns about accessible transportation have led many Independent Living Centers (ILCs) in California to increase their advocacy efforts to create long-term transportation systems change.

“Accessibility to transportation continues to be a significant issue for people living with disabilities,” said Executive Director of the California State Independent Living Council (SILC) Liz Pazdral. “In addition to providing education and training on transportation options, ILCs throughout California are focusing on creating meaningful transportation systems change within their areas.” Continue reading

TROUT Unique Public Transit Service Mix

Centred in Bancroft, Ontario, The Rural Overland Utility Transit (affectionately known as the TROUT), offers a unique four-component fully accessible public transit service in seven municipalities comprising the north half of Hastings County, and one Haliburton County municipality in a sparsely populated rural region of Southeastern Ontario.

Among challenges the TROUT faces are its large service area and small population base. The permanent population in the region is only 15,000, and the area served is 3380 km2, about two-thirds the size of Prince Edward Island. That’s an average population density of only 4.4 people per km2, requiring creative service strategies to accommodate the ridership base.

Therefore, the TROUT employs a four-part public transit service mix to meet its demographic and geographic challenges.  We call it “TROUT Blended Flex Public Transit Service.” Continue reading

Who Funds Public Transit

TROUTOct2012 018Addressing frequently asked questions about public transit, a public transit advocacy group recently asked and answered the question, “Who funds public transit?”

The London Ontario group, LTC Bus People stated that “although provincial and federal governments provide tax credits and sometimes grants for public transit, the ongoing funding of a transit system is the responsibility of municipal governments.”

Unfortunately, not all municipalities see it that way. After all, public transit costs money, and that cuts into already tight municipal budgets. Road maintenance alone in our rural region in Southeastern Ontario is a huge drain, and municipalities are constantly complaining about being saddled with services dumped on them by the province. Continue reading

National Public Transit: City forecasts increased public transit usage for 2013

The City of Charlottetown, in partnership with Trius Transit, is anticipating another successful year for the transit system.

Charlottetown transit experienced growth throughout 2012 with ridership up eight per cent over 2011.

In February 2013, the Monday-to-Friday daily average was 1,291 people, which represented a 19.6 per cent increase over February 2012.

“Charlottetown transit is an affordable and environmentally friendly transportation option that we encourage citizens to take advantage of,” said Mayor Clifford Lee. “The city worked hard with Trius Transit to provide many improvements in 2012, including a more aggressive marketing plan, and it’s great to see those efforts producing such positive results.”

The city entered into a transit agreement with Trius Transit, the Town of Stratford and the Town of Cornwall in 2012 to provide regional transit services to the three municipalities.

Transit was also re-branded last year with the new T3 logo and tagline, “Take Transit Today”, which represents the three-way partnership. New signage was created, uniforms were provided to drivers and the buses were painted bright green with yellow trim.

Transit schedules have also undergone many revisions to increase frequency and availability, and passengers have reported it to be a more reliable service.

As a result of the changes, two statistical records were broken in 2012: the number of passengers using transit per day; and the number of riders per month.

“We have no reason to think those numbers won’t continue to grow as we keep making improvements to the transit and we’re able to access more routes and appeal to more passengers,” said Coun. Terry Bernard, chair of the city’s public works, street lighting and transit committee.

Source: TheGuardian

Just wating on a public transit route…

The affordability of transit is playing a role in the growth of ridership across the US states a 2012 report by the National Conference of State Legislatures. Another key finding was that Baby Boomers, empty nesters and young professionals are also using more public transit.

In our own community we have quite a few empty nesters and we are also attracting Baby Boomers as a retirement option. Having access to public transit only increases the desirability to choose our community to retire in… thus boosting our economy. As for the young professionals, most here drive but I for one don’t and would love to see the TROUT partner with Carlow Mayo as I know others that live here have similar feelings (see TROUT’S report). The access to have some independence without having to rely on a neighbour, family or friend only enhances the quality of life.

TROUT has made some great progress over the last couple of years and we will keep striving to achieve even greater accessibility and service.

Author: Sharron Clayton

International Public Transit: Public transportation hits 10.5B rides in 2012

Ridership on buses, subways and other modes of public transportation in the USA rose 1.5%  to 10.5 billion  trips last year, the highest annual total since 2008,  according to a new report.

Although Superstorm Sandy  and its aftermath slowed ridership on some of the nation’s largest transit systems, at least 16  systems reported record ridership numbers in 2012,  says the American Public Transportation Association.

“When Sandy hit, and the snowstorm that followed it, an estimated 74 million  (transit) trips were lost, and yet we still had the second-highest ridership since 1957,”  said APTA president and CEO Michael Melaniphy. Continue reading

International Public Transit: Top Eight Reasons People Give Up On Public Transit

San_Francisco_Muni_107535Commuters are more likely to stop using public transit when they experience delays they can blame on the transit agency, according to researchers at the University of California Berkeley.

They are more likely to forgive delays caused by traffic, emergencies or mechanical failures.

“The most significant negative experiences that drove a reduction in transit use were delays perceived to be the fault of the transit agency, long waits at transfer points, and being prevented from boarding due to crowding,” wrote the researchers: graduate student Andre Carrel, undergraduate Anne Halvorsen and Professor Joan L. Walker from Berkeley’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Continue reading