Council debates a funding application for Tottenham bus route (Details)

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Since the implementation of Simcoe County’s LINX Transit system that runs through Alliston–Beeton–Bradford in early August, members of New Tecumseth Council have noted that Tottenham has been left out.

In an effort to include Tottenham, Ward 6 Councillor Stephanie MacLellan put forward a motion requesting that staff apply for funding to purchase two new buses through the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.

Other items mentioned in the motion included funding for the Town’s current Administration Centre (10 Wellington Street East) and Joint Operations Centre (6558 8th Line), but it was defeated due to concerns around complicating the application.

“Regardless of the outcome of this motion I’ll be brining the extension of the bus [to Tottenham] into our budget deliberations coming up,” noted Ward 8 Councillor Alan Lacey.

MacLellan said creating an inter-town transit system by connecting Alliston, Tottenham and Beeton is “on the top of everyone’s mind” and something the Town should get started on.

Ward 5 Councillor Donna Jebb said she fully supports linking in Tottenham to the LINX route but she’d like Council to also consider Treetops, Green Briar and Briar Hill as stops.

“I don’t think we should just narrow it down to the Tottenham area, it should be a bus that runs up and down the 10th Sideroad and into Beeton, down to Tottenham and joining the others,” she noted.

Ward 4 Councillor Fran Sainsbury said the motion seems “a bit premature” because the LINX transit route is a pilot project and there’s currently only three people in Beeton riding the bus to Bradford.

“I don’t think they [County of Simcoe] are going to continue it because the subsidization of it would be terribly expensive to the taxpayers and we pay 11.3 per cent,” she explained.

“I think that we’re getting ahead of ourselves because we have a very small tax base, plus we only have 38,000 people and most of these buses are usually not very successful in the first instance because there’s just not enough users to pay.”

MacLellan noted that if funding was secured to purchase buses for Tottenham, they would be operated by the Town instead of the County of Simcoe.

“We had a full day working session on transit and an inter-town transit system last year, so it sort of boggles my mind that we don’t take this [opportunity],” she said.

“I think this is absolutely the time to try to start our fleet for transit which is going to be small and simple. We want Tottenham to get to Beeton so they can either go to the Go [Station] in Bradford or they can go to Alliston.”

MacLellan said youth take these buses to and from Alliston, especially with Banting Memorial High School’s new schedule, which allows some students to leave at 12:30 p.m. but they’re stuck there until 2:00 p.m. if they don’t have transportation.

“I understand with transit it’s usually a slow start, but you have to start somewhere, at some point,” she remarked.

“I think this is the opportunity to try to jump start and connect all of our towns.”

Planning for the 2021 budget is expected to begin later this fall and at that time further discussions regarding a Tottenham bus route, funded by the Town, will be discussed.

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