Gananoque council authorizes staff to work with Kingston on transit study

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Town of Gananoque staff are suggesting that an amount of up to $293,000 be referred to the 2024 budget for consideration to allow the town to move forward with providing some form of transit solution.

Council authorized staff to work with the City of Kingston to apply to the Federal Rural Transit Solutions Fund for funding for a feasibility study. Several partners came on board for the application including the town, the City of Kingston and South Frontenac Township.

The partners were successful in the application. The consulting firm Arcadis was retained in October 2022 to move forward with the development of a rural public transportation feasibility study and business case. Loyalist Township joined after the grant approval and negotiated inclusion in the report through a separate contract.

After a year of study, the final report has been completed and shared with all the partners. The report will be circulated to the partner councils for their information later in December 2023.

The report finds that the transportation would involve routes between Kingston and Gananoque, with a number of stops in Gananoque, up to six round trips daily.

Trips within Kingston and the existing Kingston Transit service area would cost the same as a Kingston Transit fare. Trips that do not begin or end in Kingston would cost $5. Trips that begin outside of Kingston and end within Kingston would cost $10. In addition, a concession fare with a 20 per cent discount would be provided for equity-deserving groups such as older adults, students and low-income residents.

It is also recommended that “commuter passes” and “monthly passes” be available, with similar percentage discounts to the ones Kingston Transit offers. These passes would provide unlimited travel on weekdays, or for the full week (if service span is extended), to any destination for a fixed monthly cost.

Staff provided the report to council for review only.

If approved in the budget, staff recommend that a subcommittee be formed with three members of council to further review the study and make recommendations to council on next steps.

“I’m really glad to see this come forward before council,” Gananoque Mayor John Beddows said. “The desire for transit to Kingston is evident.”

Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.

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