Huron Shores Area Transit and the Municipality of North Middlesex are holding public meetings to discuss bus Route 4 that travels from Grand Bend to Strathroy via Parkhill and Ailsa Craig. The public meetings take place Tuesday, September 12, 2023, at North Middlesex Community Centre and Wednesday, September 13, 2023, at Ailsa Craig Community Centre, both meetings start at 7 pm.
The purpose of the meetings is to gain feedback from residents who take the bus and those who don’t in order to assess the suitability of the schedule and stops implemented in February 2022. At the time, emerging from Covid-19 Pandemic restrictions, ridership was low. The route was altered to include a major urban centre with shopping, medical facilities and other amenities as a means of increasing ridership. The route change necessitated a schedule change to afternoon trips only. After more than a year, HSAT would like to know if the schedule and route are working for most bus-taking residents or if additional changes are needed.
Of the four routes HSAT operates, Route 4 has the lowest ridership. In the first half of 2023, Route 4 serviced 105 trips, about double the ridership over the same time period in 2022 (Year-Over-Year growth was 114%). The busiest bus stop is Parkhill’s Main Street at McLeod Street, frequented by 76% of passengers, while the two bus stops in Strathroy, Shops on Sydenham and Walmart, are equally frequented. In 2022, Parkhill’s two bus stop locations were equally used by passengers, indicating the past year of watermain construction has had an impact on ridership patterns. The bus stop in Ailsa Craig, located on Main Street at Jameson Street, has yet to be used by any passenger!
The public meetings are an important step in gathering residents’ thoughts, comments, questions and suggestions about how public transit could work for the majority of residents and improve access, mobility, and economic development for the community.