- York Region Transit (YRT) conducted extensive consultations regarding their 2024 Transit Initiatives, which included outreach to Town Staff, school transportation services, local businesses, neighbouring transit agencies, members of the public, and YRT riders.
- Notable support was received for increased weekday bus frequency and two-way service along Route 9, the latter involving a route alignment change detailed on the map below.
- YRT acknowledged a desire for new bus routes serving the Ballantrae community and Gormley GO station, as well as a new Route 414 School Special that would transport students and staff to and from the new St. Katharine Drexel Catholic High School on Ninth Line.
- York Regional Council will consider implementing the proposed Route 9 improvements and route change, as well as the 414 School Special route, during their upcoming 2024 budget process.
- Their budget process will also determine the introduction of additional Mobility On-Request services to better serve the Gormley industrial area and GO station. The proposed service would connect riders to Route 24 and Route 90.
- Regional Council has already approved the replacement of monthly passes with fare capping for 2024, as YRT heard from riders that the upfront costs of monthly passes can be prohibitive.
- With the use of PRESTO, YRT can track monthly rides and will stop charging after a rider reaches their cap threshold. After reaching the following number of trips within a given month, subsequent rides within that month will be free:
- Adults: 40 rides
- Youth: 39 rides
- Seniors: 28 rides
- Children: 28 rides
- YRT is also looking to procure up to 180 electric buses to replace aging diesel vehicles.
Representatives from YRT presented their findings to Stouffville’s Council at their meeting on September 27. Both Councillor Sherban and Councillor Kroon emphasized the need for additional bus stop shelters along Stouffville’s Route 9. Sherban noted how residents are exposed to the elements along certain sections of the route, describing conditions as “bone-chilling.”
While riders have some protection on Main Street thanks to surrounding buildings, much of the Ninth Line portion of the route is wide open. “When they’re standing out there, they would have some protection, and I think it will also encourage others to take the bus,” Sherban said. YRT’s representatives offered to take the suggestion back to Regional Staff; however, they highlighted YRT’s requirement that ridership thresholds be met to justify shelter installations.
Councillor Kroon expanded on Sherban’s request, focusing on the catch-22 of ridership thresholds being required to support initiatives aimed at increasing ridership. “People don’t wait for the bus because it’s windy or cold, and there is no shelter because no one is waiting for the bus,” he explained. Kroon hopes to see a shelter at every stop within the YRT system, “because that’s going to encourage people to come out and wait for the bus.”
Kroon acknowledged YRT’s budget challenges, stating that Stouffville is already not receiving its fair share when it comes to transit service, and he suggested a reconsideration of some priorities. “I believe that spending money on making the rider experience more comfortable, including shelters, is more important than paying double for an electric bus,” he commented.
Mayor Lovatt expressed surprise over YRT not proposing a new route to Unionville High School, which is the only art school serving the Stouffville community. He mentioned delegations to Stouffville’s Council and Regional Council emphasizing the need and asked YRT representatives to consider it.
Referencing the importance of interconnected transit service, Lovatt also asked YRT to consider implementing service to the new Old Elm GO station on Tenth Line. “It’s going to be a very important transit service for our community,” he told them.