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.”
TROUT Blended Flex Public Transit Service
Scheduled Regional Route Service
The TROUT offers regularly scheduled, fixed bus stop route service throughout the region. Service extends out to different parts of the region on specific days of the week, stopping at bus stops along the way, to bring riders into Bancroft for goods, services, and other pursuits.
Regional pickups are made in the mornings, returning riders to their areas in the afternoon. Daily route service in Bancroft connects riders from throughout the region to most businesses and all medical centres in the town.
Blended into TROUT regularly scheduled route service, is door-to-door service provided to qualified riders – older adults 55+ and adults with physical disabilities who are clients of Community Care North Hastings. TROUT transit drivers incorporate door-to-door service pickups into their regular route schedules, picking up riders from their homes as close as possible to regular route times and locations. That requires some challenging organizing skills by our drivers to keep as close to schedule as possible; they are masterful at blending our scheduled fixed route service with door-to-door pickups.
Special Destination Service
Also incorporated into the TROUT’s unique public transit mix is “special destination” public transit service offered to facilitate access to local special events, attractions, and other destinations off regular route and time schedules.
This service feature connects riders to social and cultural activities and other destinations of interest that cannot be covered by regular route service. The TROUT values this component of public transit service as especially important to help promote emotional and mental health and the overall wellbeing of riders.
The TROUT provides “individualized” public transit service to riders who require wheelchair accessible transportation outside regularly scheduled route service. Riders use the service for important medical appointments, or transportation home from the hospital. In one instance, ongoing service was provided to transport a rider to vital dialysis treatments.
TROUT blended flex public transit service makes an important contribution as an alternative to personal transportation in North Hastings and Highlands East, by empowering our non-driving friends and neighbours with mobility to access the goods, services, and social and cultural activities that allow them to age in place in our region with independence and dignity.
Author: John Keith