Huron Shores Area Transit (HSAT) recently sent a report to the Mayor and Council of North Middlesex entitled ‘Make Route 4 of More Value to North Middlesex Residents”. The report contains the results of two public transit meetings held in Parkhill and Ailsa Craig and a municipal-wide public transit survey, including fourteen next steps for consideration organized by timeline, with a “Quick Hit” list for implementation within the next few months.
HSAT operates four bus routes in Lambton Shores, Kettle & Stony Point First Nation, South Huron, Bluewater and North Middlesex. Ridership has grown substantially since the pandemic, except for Route 4, which runs from Grand Bend to Strathroy via Parkhill and Ailsa Craig. Looking to improve ridership results, HSAT conducted two public transit meetings and a survey to obtain feedback from residents.
Feedback included a suggestion for an additional bus stop at the east end of Ailsa Craig to make it easier for seniors living at that end of town to access the transit system, noting the walk to the town’s centre where the only bus stop is located was too far. HSAT obtained permission from Craigweil Gardens to add a new bus stop near the Seniors Apartments’ entrance on William Street.
“I am pleased to hear the bus stop at the apartment entrance can work,” said Executive Director Sarah Campbell, “we like seniors to have the ability to be as independent as possible and the fare for service is very, very reasonable.”
Residents also wanted more time in Strathroy and Grand Bend to run errands, attend medical appointments, shop and socialize. As a result, an evening bus run leaving Grand Bend at 8 pm and returning from Strathroy at 9 pm will enable passengers to enjoy up to eight hours in Strathroy and six hours in Grand Bend. According to Transit Coordinator Susan Mills, the new bus stop and service will begin November 14, 2023.
Other items from the “Quick Hits” list include brochures for pick up at Parkhill and Ailsa Craig bus stops, lowering bus stop signs to eye level, providing instructions on how to read a bus schedule, and increasing marketing to North Middlesex residents.
The remainder of the next step items will be implemented as time and resources allow. A copy of the report is available for download at HuronShoresAreaTransit.ca/reports.