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JANUARY 2017

Ontario Community Transportation Network (OCTN) NEWSLETTER

Hopefully you enjoyed your holidays and have settled back into things with the New Year. As usual, this edition of the OCTN Newsletter provides information on a variety of topics that relate to Community Transportation (CT).

In this issue you will find
:

  • Events, News & Announcements - webinars, in-person forum, member directory, discussion forum, etc.
  • CT Service Spotlight - Deseronto Transit
  • Resources - on coordinated transportation & school bus use
  • Current Blogs - CT Coordination & Haliburton Summit

It is our intent that this newsletter help inform your work, so please let us know what you think! Also, if you are interested in contributing to the content of the newsletter by sharing news, announcements, notices about upcoming events, resources or information on a local CT initiative, please email us at: info@octn.ca.

Finally, I encourage you to regularly check the OCTN website for updates and to learn more about community transportation around the province and beyond…

Thanks for joining us!
Lisa Tolentino, Facilitator, Ontario Community Transportation Network

Events, News & Announcements


This newsletter’s events, news and announcements are listed below and posted on our website at: www.octn.ca.  If you have an event, news or announcement related to community transportation that you would like to share, please email us at: info@octn.ca.
 

EVENTS


1) OCTN Webinar: Working with School Bus Operators to Provide Community Transportation
Date: Tues. Jan. 31st, 2017
Time: 1:30-3:30pm
Location: Online


To learn more and register, visit: www.octn.ca/events


2) Other OCTN Webinars Coming Soon...
Stay tuned for two more webinars to be hosted by the OCTN in February & March 2017. Topics to include:
  • Community Transportation for Medical Appointments
  • Making the Business Case for Community Transportation

3) Community Transportation In-person Forum Save-the-Date !
Date: Thurs. Mar. 9, 2017
Time: 9am-4pm (approx.)
Location: Simcoe County Museum, 1151 Highway #26 (Minesing, ON)


Check the OCTN website's Events page for details as the evolve...
 

 

NEWS

   

ANNOUNCEMENTS

 
  • Membership Update: The OCTN membership has now reached over 100 members!
    • Directory – We currently have about 75 members who indicated that they would like to be part of and receive a Membership Directory. For those of you who chose to share their contact information, the Directory will soon be made available and emailed to you directly. Keep an eye out for it coming to your inboxes, and check your spam folders in case you do not see it by the end of the month!
    • Discussion Forum – An online forum to pose questions, share information and create dialogue about community transportation will soon be up and running for those of you who signed up for it. Check your inboxes in the near future for information on how to join in the discussion!
 
  • Economic Developers Council of Ontario Conference: February 7-9, 2017 in Toronto – Move Your Community Forward: The Importance of Public Transportation
This panel presentation on Feb. 9th at 1:45pm will highlight the variety and range of activities communities are undertaking to address transportation issues to grow their economies in both urban and rural areas. To learn more, visit:  http://www.edcoconference.com/program/program-details
 

CT Service Spotlight


In each newsletter we will highlight a community transportation service as a way of providing you with up-to-date information about CT initiatives within the province, nationally or even internationally. This newsletter highlights a successful service that has been in operation in Ontario for 10 years now. It is Deseronto Transit.


Deseronto Transit – The Town of Deseronto is located in south eastern Ontario between the cities of Kingston and Belleville. It is just south of the Trans-Canada Highway/Hwy 401, and north east of Prince Edward County. It is a lower tier municipality located within Hastings County, with a population just under 2,000.

Deseronto Transit is a regional transportation service that was established in 2007, is available to the general public, and is owned and operated by the Town of Deseronto. It services the towns and areas of Deseronto, Napanee, Belleville, Picton, Bloomfield, Tyendinaga Township and Tyendinaga Territory. Deseronto Transit aims is to provide low cost affordable transportation to meet the needs of individuals in its service area. This includes offering mobility options for access to work, education, health care, shopping, social and recreational opportunities. Many sources for employment, health and social services within the region are located in the city of Belleville.

In 2002, an Interagency Network Group was formed to share resources and attempt to address the challenges faced by residents of the town in terms of accessing work and services. Two separate studies were completed (one in 2002, the other in 2005) and used to obtain funds for a pilot project in 2007-8. Seed Funding of $225,000 was obtained from the Employment Innovations Fund through the Ministry of Community and Social Services. The deliverables for the grant were to have 40 Ontario Works/Ontario Disability Support Program (OW/ODSP) clients maintain employment for 13 consecutive weeks, and to develop a sustainable transportation service after the funding period ended.

A Transit Committee was formed comprising key stakeholders, and the service was promoted through social services (as the program was initially only open to OW & ODSP clients seeking employment). Connections were also made with local employers. Routes and schedules were developed around employer start & quit times in both Belleville and Prince Edward County. During the first year operation, 3,157 trips were made and 70 job placements were achieved, with 30 clients no longer needing OW/ODSP assistance. With successes such as this, it became easy to “make the case” to continue the public transit service in the long term.

Each year since the pilot, new partnerships have been formed and additional municipal support has been received. These two things have been integral to the ongoing success of the program. The service’s ridership increases year over year, with an increase of 27% between 2014 and 2015. About 88% of riders are adults, with 42% of trips used for employment and 12% to access education. Other key indicators of success which can be attributed to the development of partnerships, networking and municipal support, are the following:
  • Increased Gas Tax Funds received (i.e., an increase in the annual provincial public transit Gas Tax Fund allocation)
  • Increased Bus Fare Revenue
  • Increased Promotion of the service (which then leads to increased ridership)
  • Reduced contribution required from the Town of Deseronto to operate the service
 
Among the social, health and economic benefits that have also been realized are:
  • Reduced dependency on social services
  • Elderly and disabled people able to live independently
  • Increased economic and social opportunities for the disadvantaged
  • Transit services supporting specific strategic economic development objectives
  • People obtaining employment and having greater income to spend in the community
  • Retention of those currently living in the community, and the attraction of others
 
Deseronto Transit currently uses both mini-vans and community buses (which are wheelchair accessible) to provide their public transportation service. The vehicles operate on a couple of main routes with regularly scheduled service runs. Departures start at early in the morning with returns ending in the evening. Late evening pickup times are available based on demand, with limited Saturday and Sunday "share a ride” services also offered for booking. Regional fares are based on distance, with single fares ranging anywhere from $2.50 to $13.25.

For more information on Deseronto Transit please contact, Susan Stolarchuk, Transit Administrator, at: (613) 396-4008 or sstolarchuk@deseronto.ca.
 
Resources

NEWLY ADDED


Two more Resources by the Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) in the USA have been added to the OCTN website’s Reports page (under “USA”), and are related to our last webinar and the upcoming one…
  • The Toolkit for Rural Coordinated Community Transportation Services (TCRP Report 101: Transit Cooperative Research Program, January 2004) provides information, instructions, and lessons learned from communities that have implemented coordinated transportation services. It examines strategies and practices to coordinate rural transportation services, and identifies model processes for local coordination efforts. This resource also directly relates to the recent OCTN webinar on Community Transportation (CT) Coordination.
  • A resource on Integrating School Bus and Public Transportation Services in Non-Urban Communities, was also produced by the Transit Cooperative Research Program (1999) and will be of particular interest to anyone attending the upcoming webinar on “Working with School Bus Operators to Provide Community Transportation” - Online: Tues. Jan. 31st 2017, 1:30-3:30pm – see the “Events” section above for more info, or visit the OCTN website’s Events page.

SUGGESTED READING

In line with our recent webinar on Community Transportation (CT) Coordination, Jeannie Lee, Senior Policy Advisor, at the Municipal Transit Policy Office of the Ministry of Transportation – Ontario, recommends a USA website and resource on transportation coordination for this newsletter:

“For communities who are new to coordinated community transportation and want to learn more about what is happening in the USA and gain practical advice, I recommend looking at the National Center for Mobility Management website, and especially the content on building local transportation capacity

You can access the website by clicking here, or by going to the Resources tab on our OCTN website, choosing the Presentations, Webinars, Videos & Websites drop down and looking under Websites for “National Center for Mobility Management”.
 

Current Blogs


Since the last newsletter, two more blogs have been posted to the OCTN website. You can check them out here:
If you are interested in contributing to the content of the OCTN newsletter, such as sharing: news/announcements; notices about upcoming events; resources; new/updated information on a CT initiative; etc., please email us at: info@octn.ca. Also, if you would like to have the OCTN newsletter sent directly to your email inbox, please let us know by emailing us at: info@octn.ca.
 
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