Transit System in Niagara: On Demand

The Niagara Region will be coming to the Town of Lincoln’s Community Service and Infrastructure Committee this Wednesday December the 4th at 6:00pm (meeting is open to the public – see the Agenda here

[Agenda likely will be uploaded by Friday November 29th]) to present a transit model that is intended to allow residents in municipalities (including Lincoln) to travel within their own municipality and also beyond the borders of their own municipality (to another existing transit hub) and this system will be run on an on-demand basis. Proposed is that residents will be able to call roughly an hour ahead and book their pickup, which will be right to your residence (an exception being if you have a sidewalk in front of your house – it will then pick you up a certain distance away).

The system is proposed to run from 7am to 10pm Monday to Saturday.

What about our existing "ULinc" intramunicipal transit system? At this time is is proposed that the existing system continue to run for a month to overlap with the commencement of the Regional On-Demand system, which the Region is hoping to implement in April of 2020, afterwhich it is proposed that the ULinc system will stop (it is currently 100% contracted out – Lincoln owns no part of the system).

Cost to riders? Currently it is proposed that the charge be $3.00 to travel within Lincoln and $6.00 to travel beyond Lincoln’s borders.

Cost to taxpayers? Currently the ULinc system costs $175,000 per year (some of which is covered by Gas Tax Funding – I don’t recall the exact amount at the moment). It is proposed that this be our portion of the cost to the Region for Lincoln to participate in the system and would provide us with designated vehicle(s) within Lincoln.

The hope is that all municipalities will want to participate but if one does not, it will not recieve designated vehicles that travel within their own borders, but that municipality will benefit from the Regional portion which will allow them to call ahead for a vehicle to pick them up and take them beyond the border of their municipality to another muncipality that currently has a transit system (for example, from within West Lincoln to within St. Catharines).

What about Regional Specialized Transit? It is my understanding this this is to continue as it for the time being but ultimately be phazed out by the proposed new On-Demand System.

Is there a Municipality that is doing this right now? The thought is that on-demand transit systems work well and are most beneficial in areas of large geographic areas with a low population density. My understanding is that Sault Ste. Marie has successfully implemented an on demand transit system.

Hats off the The Region for initiating this process. Transit is extremely important to people from just being able to go the hairdresser all the way to being able to see a doctor and accessing education and employment (and for employers to be able to sustain a workforce).

I hope that this is clear – This is just my preliminary understanding but details of the proposed system will be provided by a representative of the Region at next Wednesday’s meeting, and at some point Lincoln will be asked to make a decision.

You can attend the meeting or watch it when it is uploaded onto the Town’s website. Feel free to email me and Councillor Russell with your questions/comments @ drintjema or arussell.
Dianne Rintjema