More rural transportation options coming in Kawartha Lakes

By Roderick Benns

More rural transportation options coming in Kawartha Lakes
Amanda Drake (left), vice-president of Fleming College Students’ Association and Mike Perry (right), co-chair of the Transportation Working Group, hold the new three-point plan. With Marina Hodson, (left), chair of the local Poverty Reduction Roundtable, Jessica Knot (left), coordinator of the Roundtable, and local residents.

Kawartha Lakes has come a big step closer to having accessible, reliable and affordable transportation.

Gathered at the Omemee Legion, the Transportation Working Group of the Kawartha Lakes-Haliburton Poverty Reduction Roundtable unveiled a plan to bring expanded transportation throughout local communities.

“Working toward rural transportation has been part of our mandate since the beginning. The hard part was getting all of the ideas into a doable list,” said Marina Hodson, chair of the roundtable and executive director of the Kawartha North Family Health Team.

“We are pleased to have developed a concrete plan, especially given the needs and ideas people have been expressing for some time.”

The new transportation plan includes:

  1. Expanding the existing Frost campus shuttle between Lindsay and Peterborough for workers, job-seekers and persons attending medical appointments (providing local connection to GO Transit, VIA Rail and Greyhound bus lines).
  1. Running a ‘shopping bus’ one day per week in a loop that links Pontypool, Bobcayeon, Coboconk, Woodville, and Lindsay, with stops in between.
  1. Restoring the “Ride Kawartha Lakes” mini-bus transit system across the City, basing it on the successful model used in Norfolk County. The plan seeks to expand transportation, building on means of transport which are currently available including active transportation, taxis and Community Care’s ride program for seniors.

“Transportation is vital to people’s well-being and economic development in our area,” says co-chair of the transportation working group, Mike Perry.

“This is a local, resident-made plan. Access, affordability, and sustainability are the goals. There is a role to be played by all of us in the community to plan, fund and implement the details. We need everyone to step up now and get involved,” Perry says.

Progress is already underway. The first part of the plan – expanding the student shuttle between Fleming’s Frost and Sunderland campuses – has already been discussed with the student leadership.

An application for Rural Economic Program funding from the province has been submitted with revenue also projected from fares and advertising.

More rural transportation options coming in Kawartha Lakes
Mike Perry.

“We have heard this idea for a long time and are very pleased to be seeing progress on possibly expanding our existing student shuttle to include both students and workers,” says Amanda Drake, vice-president of the Fleming Students’ Association that has run the existing Peterborough-Lindsay shuttle for three years now.

“The shuttle’s rider numbers and fare revenues continue to grow. We are thrilled to be collaborating with our community,” she says.

The plan reflects extensive consultation with local residents – including focus groups, a survey and a Rural Transportation Summit held in Fenelon Falls last summer – as well as research, comparisons with other municipalities, and meetings with transportation service providers. It is based on the consideration of many values such as residents’ expressed needs, building on existing transport to avoid duplication, and ensuring affordability given public transportation as a necessary public expense.

The Expanded Rural Transportation Plan has been specifically costed and funding is anticipated from a variety of sources including riders’ fares, private sector investments, provincial and municipal funding, and contributions by major donors.

Individuals and groups interested in providing input and assistance as the plan moves forward can contact: Jessica Knot at , or call 705-934-2704. The local chambers of commerce, for example, have expressed interest in the opportunities presented by the weekly shopping bus.

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