Sunday transit service not addressed until 2020

Cornwall Transit General Manager Len Tapp and Infrastructure GM John. St. Marseille present the transit budget to the committee on Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018. There are $100,000 in proposed changes to the network this year as part of following through on a consultant's report. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – Placing a priority on realigning and streamlining existing bus routes and putting in new technology, the idea of Cornwall Transit Sunday bus service will take a back seat until at least 2020.

“We’re not implementing Sunday service,” Division Manager Len Tapp told the budget committee during his budget presentation Thursday afternoon, saying they need to address the “user experience” first.

Tapp also shared their plans based on the Transit Master Plan. The changes will cost $100,000 — $15,000 to realign bus routes, $35,000 to simplify the route network and $50,000 for new technology.

The changes are based on a $65,000 consultant’s report presented to council last year.

Fare increases are in the cards.

Adult and child cash fares would go from $2.90 and $2.75 to $3 across the board. There would also be a $1 increase to monthly bus passes and 10-ride cards and a $3 increase to seniors’ passes and community passes.

The fare system would also be simplified by getting rid of 10-ride passes for children and Handi-Transit users. In its place for Handi-Transit, there would be a $24 monthly pass – the same rate as regular users. It will also keep the “very popular” Family Day Pass with a 25 cent increase.

The fare changes are projected to bring in an extra $15,000 from June to December.

As for new technology, a real-time schedule app and GPS are in the works, but there still needs to be funding to allow transfers between buses outside of the downtown core location at Pitt and Second.

Cornwall Transit is projecting about 830,000 riders this year – up from around 800,000 in 2017. It also plans to replace one conventional bus and one Handi-Transit bus as part of its ongoing maintenance of it fleet, which is fully accessible – a bragging point for Tapp, who said it was a project eight years in the making.

The changes, which are being marketed under the slogan “Way To Go”, are the first steps of a 10 year plan. They are slated to take effect in June if approved by city council.

The Cornwall Transit operating budget is nearly $3.7 million, a 2.79 per cent increase over 2017. The entire departmental budget has a 17 per cent increase.