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.
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 bring 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.