Simcoe County launched two new LINX transit service routes on Tuesday, connecting Wasaga Beach to Barrie and Orillia to Barrie.
LINX also took control of an existing route that connects Collingwood to Wasaga Beach, now dubbed Route 4.
The new Route 2 will connect Wasaga Beach to south Barrie, with stops in Clearview and Essa, while the new Route 3 will connect Orillia to north Barrie, with stops in Oro-Medonte.
Route 1, which runs from Penetanguishene and Midland to Barrie, launched in 2018, and according to Simcoe County, has seen ridership increase on a monthly basis.
“This is another tremendous milestone for the county, our communities and residents,” Simcoe County Warden George Cornell said in a statement. “Route 1 has been a huge success, with ridership exceeding expectations by 25 per cent on a monthly basis.”
According to David Parks, Simcoe County’s planning, economic development and transit director, LINX has been averaging about 700 to 800 riders on a five-day weekly schedule so far with Route 1.
“We’re anticipating about a little bit more than that on the Barrie-Orillia route because of the fact that they’re two urban centres,” Parks told Global News.
“Most routes are going to see 500 to 800 people on a five-day week basis.”
On the Collingwood-Wasaga Beach route, there’s already been a ridership of 600 to 700 people on a weekly basis, he added.
In 2017, the county’s council approved a five-year, $5-million plan to create a regional transit service. The plan will continue to be rolled out to include Route 5, connecting Bradford West Gwillimbury and Alliston, and Route 6, connecting Midland to Orillia, by the end of 2020.
“It’s meant to provide conductivity for all residents,” Parks said. “We’ve had calls from many employers indicating that a lot of their single-family car work families can’t get to work, students can’t get to school, so it’s just providing more convenience more opportunity.”
Parks said the Barrie-Orillia route connects both campuses of Georgian College. Students are also able to travel from Barrie to Lakehead University through the LINX transit service, he added.
According to Parks, the length of travel time on the LINX routes ranges anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour.
The county also offers a door-to-door LINX+ service for people with disabilities. LINX+ provides service to communities in routes 1 to 4.
“ basically for all population demographics, but traditionally, what we see in the transit business is seniors and the young people using it most of the time,” Parks said.
Ridership on routes 2, 3 and 4 is free until Sept. 2, with regular fares starting on Labour Day.
Fares will be determined through a zone system based on the distance travelled. Fares for routes 1, 2 and 3 range from $2 to $6, depending on where a rider travels to, while the price for Route 4 is $2.
LINX hours of operation:
- Route 1 (Penetanguishene/Midland to Barrie): Monday to Friday, from 6 a.m. to 7:40 p.m.
- Route 2 (Wasaga Beach to Barrie): Monday to Friday, from 5:30 a.m. to 7:25 p.m.
- Route 3 (Orillia to Barrie): Monday to Friday, from 5:45 a.m. to 7:07 p.m.
- Route 4 (Collingwood to Wasaga Beach): Monday to Saturday, from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday and holiday service is from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
“We just hope to have a state-of-the-art transit system that conveniently connects people, places, jobs and opportunities throughout the county that provides economic opportunity for all citizens,” Parks said.
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