At the Committee of the Whole meeting on Monday, Cobourg Council voted to start collecting parking fees downtown once the Provincial lockdown is over – currently scheduled for January 23. They also voted to start collecting Transit fares and resume normal hours January 26. With free parking, staff have observed that many spaces that would otherwise be used by shoppers are likely occupied by “people who have continued to work in the downtown area or are residents of the residential units above the many storefronts”. Although parking is free, other restrictions are still being enforced – these include tickets for parking in “no-parking” areas or in front of Fire Hydrants etc. For Transit, a significant issue is the continued closure of Victoria Hall to the public which makes getting Transit Passes impossible.
The Municipal Law Enforcement Department now has the “appropriate PPE and sanitizer resources to conduct coin collection regularly from parking meters and enforce non-payment”. They also have the technology to issue parking passes online and want to “encourage that small remaining percentage of the public who are not yet using the online service, to give it a try. Patrons can also call into the Town and request help from staff to fill in the online application and those without computers are able to access one at the Library if needed.” Further “members of the public who choose not to or cannot pay by credit card can drop off payment by cash or cheque in a drop box at Victoria Hall.”
So once stores re-open (that is, when lockdown is over) and there is an increase in demand for downtown parking, then paid parking will resume.
Ridership on transit continues to be low. On the Conventional service, this is expected because of limited capacity as well as reduced hours of operation. Compared to 2019 when the average daily riders on the conventional service was 224, the average from March to November was 123. In the same period, the average daily ridership on the Wheels Service dropped from 23 to 4.3 (there’s more detail on this in the memo in the Links below). The reduced ridership and free fares resulted in Transit revenue for 2020 dropping from the budgeted amount of $116,500 to an actual of $26,663.
Currently, there is no facility for buying Transit passes online and since Victoria Hall remains closed to the Public, when paid transit resumes on 26 January, fares may only be paid with $2 cash. Unused tickets will be accepted although “discounted tickets are being phased out and will no longer be sold.”
The good news is that the hours for Conventional Transit will revert to the previous normal hours (see Cobourg Internet Transit page – link below).
Also good news is that the Town is proceeding with a trial of Micro-Transit albeit temporarily using the existing big buses and subject to formal approval at the budget meeting on January 21.
- Memo from Laurie Wills re resumption of Transit and paid Parking
- Cobourg Internet Transit page
- Town of Cobourg parking page – (get parking passes)
- Council Considering Micro-Transit – 16 December 2020