Consultant says ride-share best for county
|By Joseph Quigley - Staff Writer | December 25, 2018|
The County of Haliburton’s transportation consultant has agreed a shared-ride based model would be best for public transportation.
County council received a report for information Nov. 28 from IBI Group outlining a series of recommendations for a new transportation service. The report found a demand-based transit model would work best within the county and also that the county should contract the service out. The report also found the service would cost at least $182,400 per year and presented four options for the county to consider for coverage area.
“IBI has reviewed the data, reviewed our populations, reviewed the clusters in our settlement areas where people are located,” county director of planning Charlsey White said. “They have agreed that a demand-based system is the system of choice for the County of Haliburton.”
IBI was originally hired in June 2018 to take the business case created by the county’s transportation task force and create an outline of how transportation could be implemented, according to a staff report. The transportation task force business case also recommended a shared-ride or blended transportation model.
The four possible transportation service areas all include Haliburton, Minden, Carnarvon and West Guilford. Wilberforce, Gooderham and Dorset are also being considered as possibilities for service.
Coun. Carol Moffatt proposed Algonquin Highlands consider polling its residents to determine how many people would actually use the transportation service. She further said based on size and geography, transportation would never be equitable within the county.
“Is it feasible to have a bus, a transportation option that one person’s going to use?” Moffatt asked. “It would be important for Algonquin Highlands to have discussion to help this process.”
Coun. Murray Fearrey said the county could not serve everyone in transportation.
“There’s a whole lot of opportunities. If we’re going to service everybody, I think it’s going to become a fleet of buses, quite frankly,” Fearrey said.
White replied the consultant could hopefully help determine who to best service with transportation.
Moffatt also said there are significant challenges to trying to service everyone. “Does it put county council in the hot seat of having to choose one sector over another?” Moffatt said. “Logistically, it makes me nervous because you want to do the right thing for the right reasons and serve the right people. But how do we choose the right people when everyone’s the right person?”
Fearrey, who did not return to county council for this term, said the initiative is very challenging.
“I don’t think you have any idea [of] the demand you got,” Fearrey said. “I wish you well.”
IBM Group is scheduled to present the final implementation plan for transportation to county council in January.
“This is going to be very interesting,” Warden Suzanne Partridge said after the council discussion.