Cobourg Transit Changes

A year ago, Council approved a trial of on-demand transit and although we have not yet seen a staff report on its success or otherwise, the public are being asked to provide feedback. There’s an online survey (see link below) plus more information on it on the Town’s web site plus Cobourg Internet’s page. Other changes this year include an increase in fares, the re-introduction of passes plus the introduction of Smart cards. But Council had another idea: why not offer transit free to children under 12? A motion by Council on 6 December 2021 asked staff to investigate the idea and see what can be learned from Guelph who have implemented this. The thought was that ridership may be encouraged among more parents if their children can ride for free. Currently Cobourg Transit is free for children aged 5 and under.

The deadline for the staff report was 14 February so at the CoW meeting on 14 February, staff will present their report – but it’s a “nothing to report” report!

Staff report that:

The program was brought forward and approved by [Guelph] Council and there is no available Staff report or analysis related to the intended purpose or projected outcome of the pilot.


Cobourg Transit ridership age statistics are not available and Staff cannot predict the revenue loss or gain should Council choose to implement free transit for children under age 12. Student passes are available for any and all ages with proof of enrollment. The 3 year average of student pass sales is 31 passes annually with an average of $1,550 in annual revenue.

A comparison with Guelph Transit is not an apples and apples thing – they have 70 busses. But their fares are more than Cobourg and it’s not “on-demand”. Also children 5 to 12 need a special card (Smart card?) to get their free ride.

It remains to be seen what Council will do. Making children ridership free or not will likely not make much financial difference.


Previous Posts on Cobourg News Blog

External Links

Town Links

Print Article: 


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
11 February 2022 3:29 pm

Finally I found it in comment #10 and by who else but Cornbread – “Do away with Transit and see what happens”

Frankly I am surprised that it took so long to appear!

11 February 2022 10:17 am

I would love to see the county look into a shared county transit system. Transit within our communities is non-existent.

Reply to  Linda
11 February 2022 11:50 am

We can’t afford another highly subsidized service in our close-by communities. Taxes are too high already in Cobourg. Time to cut expenses and live within our means…a message our local govt. should live by.

Pete M
Reply to  Linda
13 February 2022 8:16 am

Could you please define “within our communities”.
At this time it isn’t feasible to have a bus or any other type of govt subsidized vehicle running between Cobourg and Colborne and Brighton and Campbellford and Bewdley. Just not enough ridership for this Cadillac Service

Bill Thompson
11 February 2022 10:14 am

I would suggest that the size of buses should be reduced .
From my observations year round they are rarely even half full (sometimes even empty) on their routes.
The ever increasing cost of diesel /maintenance etc is another costly expense for little return not to mention the impact on the environment which is an issue in the forefront of public concern.

Reply to  Bill Thompson
11 February 2022 11:52 am

I have “followed” the Cobourg buses a number of times…”sometimes empty” is an untruth…they are empty for most of the time…let’s be honest with everyone.

11 February 2022 8:27 am

Or do as in the Uk. They have had any bus free for those of pension age, It is a lifeline for many seniors there.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  BrendaZ
11 February 2022 8:47 am

The bus fare covers only a small fraction of the bus system’s operating costs. Having tickets incurs additional costs for producing, selling and checking them. Perhaps we should make the bus free for everyone and call it “a lifeline charity service”.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 February 2022 10:02 am


Using the work “charity” is highly disrespectful. Is our National Healthcare System “a lifeline charity service”?

Personal transportation by a car or buss is fundamental to having a decent quality-of-life in a town like Cobourg and the result of its’ land use development since WWII..

CAA estimates that the yearly cost of owning an automobile varies from 7,500 to 12,500 dollars depending on how many miles driven.

There are many in this town who cannot afford such an expense along with others who are unable or ineligible to drive. The real reason so few use public transport is that it is expensive, infrequent and the routes poorly planned.

Another relevant issue is that Cobourgs’ residential densities are only 1/2 to 1/3 of what they should be to support well used public transit (See Ontario publication “Transit Supportive Land Use Guidelines”, and aThe American Association of Transportation Engineers Blue Book).

I was going to characterize your use of the word “charity” as “discussing”, but I’ve decided to be charitable to you and used the word “disrespectful” instead.

Last edited 11 months ago by Keith Oliver
Wally Keeler
Reply to  Keith Oliver
11 February 2022 12:25 pm


Is that what you meant to say? or was it, disgusting, that you meant to say.

Mirriam-Webster: CHARITY
1. the act of giving money, food, or other kinds of help to people who are poor, sick, etc.
2. something (such as money or food) that is given to people who are poor, sick, etc.
3. an organization that helps people who are poor, sick, etc.
4. generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering
5. benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity

Please explain how any of the definitions of charity are “disrespetful”?

Reply to  Wally Keeler
11 February 2022 2:14 pm

For one WK – your definition when applied to KS’s comment would suggest that those who utilize transit require a handout are needy, suffering, poor, sick, etc… people use transit for many reasons, some are contained in your definition however to suggest those are the only reasons is a mistake.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Rob
11 February 2022 6:38 pm

Rob, I’m certain that there are many non-financial reasons to choose to not own a vehicle — misplaced zeal to save the world, never learned to drive, fear of causing an accident, no place to park a vehicle, etc — and certainly nobody should be forced to own a vehicle. On the other hand to suggest that Cobourg tax payers should be forced to compensate for their rejection of car ownership is ridiculous.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Rob
11 February 2022 11:25 pm

Rob asserts: “your definition

None of them were my definitions. They are the definitions of Mirriam-Webster dictionary. And no where did I even remotely suggest those were the “only reasons”.
And I did not address any comment by “KS” as you assert. If you are going to make a career in fiction, do a better job

Last edited 11 months ago by Wally Keeler
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
11 February 2022 7:03 pm

Keith, I greatly appreciate your charitable decision. Thank you!

I’m aghast that you would suggest increasing density to make public transit economic. Even in densely populated towns the fare recovery ratio very low. For example, 68% in Toronto, 46% in Montreal and 47% in New York City.( Are you seriously suggesting that we should triple Cobourg’s density to make unnecessary public transit slightly less onerous for our tax payers?

Reply to  Ken Strauss
11 February 2022 2:18 pm

The use of “a lifeline charity service” when describing transit service is not aligned with reality.

Reply to  Rob
11 February 2022 2:44 pm

Then I suggest we do away with the Cobourg Transit System and see what happens. Do we have an efficient Taxi service in Cobourg at reasonable cost to the rider? Do we have uber service? The people who complain will be the ones without the means to pay for their ride.

Reply to  cornbread
11 February 2022 2:59 pm

You do realize there are people who choose not to own a vehicle? There is no Uber and taxi service has been nearly non-existent since the pandemic and shotty before that. I recognize there is a stigma attached to those who utilize transit – that stigma dated and out of touch.

Reply to  Rob
13 February 2022 8:40 am

Perhaps we should have a “Means Test” to determine the price levels for Cobourg Transit Tickets or Passes. Those who can afford a car pay the full non subsidized cost for a ride on the bus, and a sliding scale set-up for others.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  cornbread
13 February 2022 10:05 am

I doubt that many “who can afford a car” would be willing to pay $12 or more to stand in the rain/snow waiting for a bus when they could take a cab for about the same charge. Why not just fund a cab for everyone?

Reply to  cornbread
14 February 2022 10:51 am

Great idea…lets do that for all things. Price based on means, seems logical. Seniors programs, food, health care, sports, medication, alcohol, entertainment (wait – poor people shouldn’t be allowed entertainment if they can’t afford it)

I think you’re really on to something Cornbread…haha

Reply to  Ken Strauss
13 February 2022 5:46 am

Free transit? I recall reading somewhere that some places that tried free transit for the reasons mentioned found that homeless people rode the buses all day to keep warm and were sometimes a nuisance to genuine travelers.

Keith Oliver
Reply to  JimT
13 February 2022 9:11 am


The example you quote is also a prime example of how one unresolved problem can produce an unintended significant unresolved problem for another.

The rich are getting richer and more numerous, the “missing middle” is on the increase and the economically poor are on the rise.

What happened to the “just society” a majority of Canadians hoped for? It is a fact that it will not be a product of an unregulated capitalist free market economy.

“The castle is not safe if the cottage is unhappy”. (Benjamin Disraeli). Could this be an accurate summary of what is motivating the seditious character of the present Freedom Insurrection??

Last edited 11 months ago by Keith Oliver
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Keith Oliver
13 February 2022 9:55 am

The rich are getting richer and more numerous, the “missing middle” is on the increase and the economically poor are on the rise.

Isn’t that the same as saying that there are more people in all categories?