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Future of transportation in Gravenhurst taking shape

The future of transportation in Gravenhurst is beginning to take shape.

Left Turn Right Turn Ltd. (LTRT), a consulting firm based in Toronto, has presented Gravenhurst council with what they believe is the best option for transportation in Gravenhurst. 

Pia Dimayuga and Matt Lattavo with the firm spoke to council on May 16.

They suggested moving forward with an urban “flex” route and rural on-demand service. 

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The presentation was for information only. Council has yet to vote on the idea and a timeline for when that may happen was not discussed.

The urban route would have a consistent 30-minute loop with “flex” options available. Dimayuga explained riders would have to request one of the extra stops when they get on the bus. She added it’s possible the route could be connected to Bracebridge.

Bracebridge Transit is one of a few transit options in Muskoka. The District of Muskoka operates the Corridor 11 Bus with support from Hammond Transportation and a local service runs in Huntsville, too.

The on-demand service would allow riders to call ahead of time to set up a time to be picked up and dropped off. Dimayuga floated the idea of creating an app for the service. 

The suggested fares would be $3 for the flex route and between $4 and $13 for the on-demand service, depending on how far the trip is. The recommended service times are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays, and 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Sundays.

Dimayuga suggested that a lower rate be thought up for those who may need it adding that the town could partner with community groups who would bulk purchase fares. 

She said the expectation is not that the town would buy a bus, but they would instead work with a third party to offer the services. 

In LTRT’s report, the initial estimate is the program would cost the town $315,000 annually if approved. However, the town is expected to make $160,000 through fares. Lattavo noted it could take up to three years for ridership to reach its full potential. When that happens, the operating costs could grow to $580,000 and revenues to $260,000, according to estimates in LTRT’s report. 

A final report from the consulting firm is expected in June. Amy Taylor, the town’s Manager of Economic Development, said the item will be featured during the town’s 2024 budget discussions.

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