More Transit Discussion at Council

At Monday’s Council meeting, correspondence from Hope Bergeron generated discussion on Cobourg’s Transit system. Hope was unhappy with the on-demand system and wanted a return to a fixed route system.  She called the on-demand system “illogical and exclusionary”.  She accepted that it was needed while we had the Covid pandemic but now “life returns to normal”.  She said that she had written “two months ago in Nov 2022” which she said was not read out or acknowledged.  I could not find any online reference to that but I did find that she had written to Council on the same subject November 2021 although it was received as a community grant request.  Both of her hand-written letters are available below.

A motion was made to accept Hope’s letter for information purposes but Miriam Mutton moved an amendment that asked staff to reply to Hope and further that they provide the cost of reverting to a fixed schedule. She was supported by Adam Bureau.  Mayor Lucas Cleveland and other councillors were not convinced (Councillor Darling was absent). In response to questions from Mayor Cleveland, Director Laurie Wills said:

  1. Whether Transit is fixed route or on-demand is a Council decision and not a staff decision so a letter from staff to a resident could not address Hope’s request
  2. No change would be possible this year – it would have to be 2024
  3. The On-demand system has not yet been properly tested since there have not been sufficient drivers at any time.

Lucas also commented that although he has received some letters complaining about the on-demand system, the Town has received many more letters praising it.  He also said that the previous council had reviewed options and decided to change.  Lucas asked if the option of “no transit system” had been considered – since the majority of Towns Cobourg’s size do not have one. (This has not been considered by staff).  He asked if everyone knows how much each transit ride costs.  My understanding is that for 2019, this was $6.30 per ride whereas current fares are $2.25. The total cost to taxpayers (per the 2022 budget) is $1.07M.  Lucas said that during budget deliberations, Councillors must consider what is and isn’t essential.

Councillor Randy Barber said that this was a “make work project” and no other councillors supported Miriam and Adam.  In the end, in a recorded vote, the motion to amend was lost 4-2 (Darling was absent). This means that the on-demand system will continue and although Hope’s correspondence is listed on the Town’s web site, she will not get a written reply from the Town.

Resources

Print Article: 

 

88 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rob
20 January 2023 4:39 pm

Much of the discussion regarding transit is based on the fact that Cobourg is losing its walkability. There are few small local shops scattered near populated residential areas, there are only 2-3 corner stores, all grocery shopping in done at the top of town, hardware and department stores are north, the hospital and clinics are north, etc, etc, etc…we have (sub)urban sprawl and its creating a community that relies very heavily on the car, the cab or the bus. We have an aging population – many of whom can not longer drive safely and require public transportation or an effective taxi/ride sharing service – we don’t offer either. We are not developing a healthy community … it is an afterthought. As demonstrated by the number of drive-thru options you can find…We are quickly becoming Whitby 2.0.

We have a planning problem that has created a transit and infrastructure problem.

Wally Keeler
Reply to  Rob
20 January 2023 5:42 pm

We have an aging population – many of whom can not longer drive safely and require public transportation or an effective taxi/ride sharing service – we don’t offer either.

If Cobourg is spending $6K per year per passenger. The aging population can get around on a $2K mobility scooter, which is sensitive to inclement weather. There is a Prov. program that will subsidize up to 75% of the cost of a mobility scooter. Perhaps Cobourg could top that up with a 5 or 10% subsidy per scooter purchase. It would provide a means for the seniors living south of the tracks to access medical facilities at the north end of Town. Perhaps a business could start with an inventory of 5 scooters to rent to seniors for a portion of the day. Don’t need a driver’s licence or ownership papers or even a helmet. Perhaps each retirement centre could have one scooter on standby for its residents.

Greg H
20 January 2023 2:58 pm

….”have you considered the backlash if residents were to realize that each bus user costs us $6.7K per year”. This is what Ken Strauss wrote on January 18. To me this sounds as if Ken would like to drag each transit user off the bus and accuse them of wasting over $6,000. In Victorian times a popular music hall song had a chorus that went – ‘it’s the same the whole world over, it’s the rich what gets the pleasure, it’s the poor what gets the blame; ain’t it all a blooming shame’.  Truly, the people who need to be berated are not users of the system, but are the people who designed and approved a transit system that costs so much money and attracts very few users. My memory is that the extravagant Cobourg system happened when the province decided to provide each municipality a share of gasoline taxes. In Cobourg, the town staff abetted by the council, realized that the town could buy big impressive expensive buses, but never considered the costs of running them. The subsequent decision to make the system on demand has just made the problem worse. We now have a bus system that appears to requires users to have special knowledge of the system, a cell phone, and a special users code. If the bus system was redesigned to use smaller buses, and to run reliably on fixed routes between major Cobourg landmarks, and was actually advertised to the public, perhaps at bus stops, it would probably attract many more users. A major route would run from King Street East through downtown and directly to Northumberland Mall and the Strathy Road stores. Other routes would serve the Northumberland Hills Hospital, and the CCC. In the summer a profitable shuttle bus could take people between the Victoria Park… Read more »

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Greg H
20 January 2023 3:30 pm

To me this sounds as if Ken would like to drag each transit user off the bus and accuse them of wasting over $6,000.

Certainly no plan to “drag each transit user off the bus”, Greg!

The intent was to discuss the absurdity of a public transit system that costs the taxpayers over $6,600 for each user each year. Cobourg could lease a late-model car for each user for less than the $500 per month that we are spending on providing an inferior bus service! The average property tax bill in Cobourg is less than the cost of the bus. How can that be sustainable?

Greg H
Reply to  Ken Strauss
20 January 2023 4:37 pm

Ken, I did not mean to suggest that you personally would do such thing, but such things do happen south the border, especially if a scapegoat can be found. The rest of my message was to suggest that the scapegoat should not be a bus passenger.

I agree with you about the absurdity of the current set up. Since the provincial funding was aimed at improving transit I and trying to suggest a way that this goal might be be more effectively achieved.

Deborah OConnor
Reply to  Greg H
21 January 2023 6:07 am

How about a bus that would run straight across Elgin from the Mall to Cobourg Non Profit Housing at the eastern edge of town?

Greg H
Reply to  Deborah OConnor
21 January 2023 9:22 am

Yes. It could be incorporated with the bus serving the CCC !

marya
Reply to  Deborah OConnor
23 January 2023 6:05 am

It is possible with all of the additional virtual stops on the Pick-Up On Demand System and can be requested. Booking Options: 905-373-0582

cheryl
20 January 2023 11:42 am

To hear our local Mayor say that our transit system is a luxury is very disappointing. A luxury is being able to go to your nice warm garage and get into your nice warm car. The transit system enables persons with disabilities and seniors on restricted budgets to obtain goods and services such as doctors appointments and appointments at the Life Lab. Most Taxi companies and ride sharing programs do not have an accessible vehicle and a lot of ride sharing companies refuse to pick up someone with a seeing eye dog. I think it would be good if we all took a step back to consider those in our community who are less fortunate. After all is this not the “Feel Good Town”. Perhaps when the transit contract comes up for renuewal someone could take a very close look at it.

Bryan
Reply to  cheryl
20 January 2023 12:41 pm

Cheryl,
I agree that the needs of those with disabilities etc should be met within reason, not carte blanche. You note various “limitations” with cabs. the solution to that is in how the Town licenses cabs. Make the services you mentioned part of the license requirement.
Keep in mind that Cobourg Transit is not serving thousands of individuals. The estimated number is about 300.
How much should the Town spend on the specific needs on 300 people.
As noted by others, the transit cost per person is about $6.7K per year, or about 450 cab($15) rides per year

Last edited 13 days ago by Bryan
cheryl
Reply to  cheryl
20 January 2023 2:04 pm

Brian,

If the Town of Cobourg can find a taxi company who is willing to purchase at least 4 accessible taxi’s that would be great, however it is a huge financial cost to the company. They may not be willing to lay out the money. Perhaps the Town could help share in the purchase. Electric vehicles would be great for the Town’s future. There are ways that the Town could bring in extra revenue in order to subsidize a transit system. If you would like to hear about one of them let me know.

Bryan
Reply to  cheryl
20 January 2023 2:59 pm

Cheryl,
Sure, all ideas are welcome.

Send a copy to the mayor as well lcleveland@cobourg.ca

Kenneth Wren
20 January 2023 10:02 am

I say that our town is too small for a transit system. We should encourage taxi companies to ‘step up’ and improve their services.

Having said that, if we are to have a transit system, then it should be a ‘fixed route’ type system. I am somewhat biased, though, having grown up in Toronto and knowing where and when I could catch a streetcar, bus or subway and knowing what the schedules (times) are and that I will get to where I am going in a reasonable amount of time and on time!

Just my opinion.

Bryan
Reply to  Kenneth Wren
20 January 2023 3:23 pm

I agree that a fixed route system would serve Cobourg best. I believe that the majority of transit users are those going to work, school or an appointment of some sort where the important requirement is to be at the destination by a specific time. Fixed route offers this, providing a defined arrival time, travel time and pick-up time.
To date, based on the complaints and comments in the media, the on demand system has not met these requirements.

The routes should be as direct as possible and not be a sight seeing tour of Cobourg.

Using transit pickup and drop-off data is should be possible to make “scatter” maps that show the density of pickup/drop-off points by day and time. Then schedule accordingly for density and peak activity. Areas with little activity may have to be dropped. Similarly, pear times may require several busses on a route and none at other times.

As you note, Cobourg is a small town making it unrealistic to expect all needs to be met.

Kelley Hennessey
20 January 2023 9:22 am

Our transit with the current hours is useless to working people. Most jobs in this town are not 9 to 5 but a transit system that does not offer transportion for those that have to be to at work by 6 or 7 am or those that work past 9 pm at night (restaurants, fast food) is useless and we wonder why nobody is taking those jobs, how are they supposed to get there or get home.

Kevin
20 January 2023 8:05 am

It is a luxury or privilege to be able to get in your own vehicle and drive to where you want to go. A privilege that is often earned by being able to afford the vehicle and the related expenses (fuel, maintenance, insurance). There are those who have not earned this privilege and perhaps never will. They still need to go places. If they cannot get to work how can they earn a living and pay their share of taxes? Perhaps transit service is a luxury compared to walking but not compared to driving your own vehicle.

Tom Holden
19 January 2023 10:33 am
marya
19 January 2023 8:40 am

One can google the related costs to this Public Transit dilemma in Cobourg to find that Towns and Cities across Canada have the involvement of much taxpayers’ dollars…

Rationale
18 January 2023 6:10 pm

While there are several points of view, the fact is the bus service in Cobourg is not sustainable at the current rider fare. It is totally unreasonable to expect the taxpayers of Cobourg to subsidize this service.

If the per rider loss is $6 plus then the fares per rider need to be increased by this amount ( or by whatever amount covers costs). If riders don’t want to pay the required fare then cancel the bus service.

The Town doesn’t subsidize a taxpayer for their car payments, insurance, gas, repairs and maintenance so why should those few who don’t have these expenses get subsidized.

New Cobourg Resident
18 January 2023 5:16 pm

I just moved to Cobourg from downtown Toronto last week and yesterday and today I attempted to use the “on demand” transit 3 times, and each time I received a message on the app saying the demand was too high, when I called transit the woman told me it would be at least 4 hours wait. I knew it would be a big change from the TTC and the subway but to have to spend $60 on taxis to run a few errands today was disappointing.

Looks like I will need to purchase a car which is not something I wanted to do. Otherwise so far I love the town though, people are very friendly and nice vibes!

Ken Strauss
Reply to  New Cobourg Resident
18 January 2023 6:07 pm

Welcome to Cobourg! The people are great. We moved here about 13 years ago and love it.

Life is short and I cannot imagine being without a car and able to travel when and where I want but there are alternatives. Amazon delivers. Some local grocers such as Market & Smor deliver. Several restaurants offer home delivery. Cobourg is a small town so walking is often viable. And a taxi is always a possibility.

Following the thrust of the discussion on this blog, if we didn’t waste our tax dollars on buses we would be better able to afford a cab.

Concerned
Reply to  New Cobourg Resident
19 January 2023 2:07 pm

They don’t now, nor have they since the pilot started, had enough drivers for the vehicles they have. If you know anyone looking for work they are hiring.

Conor
Reply to  New Cobourg Resident
21 January 2023 9:14 am

ON Demand transit was and is a total disaster for public transit. Forget the cost local transit bus service is what people need and deserve.

Sandpiper
18 January 2023 9:37 am

Cobourg should Not become known for the Town you move to
if your looking for a Tax Payer Tiny Home or a Free ride and a Beach We have to become
as Nichole Beaty used to say Sustainable This should be financially as well
If the Bus sys. can’t support it self then move over and make room for Privatization , Uber and
self employed Taxi drivers door to door and routine booking avail. They basically went out of business trying to compete against the Town Transit ideals which runs at a loss and a deficit out of the Tax Payers pockets .
I can’t wait to see how big a Property Tax increase we will be hit with in the near future
That topic should be front and center with ideas of Cost reductions and reducing overhead
That’s overhead not services at the top of every Council meeting

Candice
18 January 2023 9:30 am

I was shocked to hear the Mayor state that transit “was a luxury.” How atrocious.

Bryan
Reply to  Candice
18 January 2023 10:26 am

Candice,

If transit was a necessity then every town would have it. Of Cobourg’s peer communities (KPMG) 40% don’t have transit.

Prior to 2022, transit fares had not increased since 2008 …15 years. Meanwhile the Cobourg tax payers were paying for the ever increasing transit costs.
Further, with the deep discounts for passes, the actual net fare per ride was less than $1.25, while the per ride taxpayer subsidy was $6.30 (2019)

While the number of rides (2019) seems impressive at about 112K, there actually were relatively few individuals using Cobourg’s transit. My estimate is about 275

Not exactly equitable.

Last edited 15 days ago by Bryan
Gerinator
Reply to  Bryan
18 January 2023 5:23 pm

Bryan, would never debate your numbers and the conclusion they present. I will defend Candices objection to the term ‘luxury’. I am neither for or against Cobourgs version of public transportation; that it is run at a loss is a shame. I argue that Cobourg, as a governance agent, cannot be run by numbers alone; that quality of our citizens lives is also part of that governance. If numbers were the only criteria then we should get rid of the CCC, a couple of under utilized arenas and other public places e.g. parks. Is this public transport charging enough, maybe not, but I don’t believe it to be a luxury.

Conor
Reply to  Candice
21 January 2023 3:30 pm

If transit is a luxury perhaps the Mayors salary is a luxury.

Bryan
Reply to  Conor
21 January 2023 3:58 pm

Yet another non-relevant comment from you Conor, a non-resident.

marya
18 January 2023 7:56 am

Perhaps someone should ask Port Hope, with a lesser population than Cobourg, how they “manage” their two fixed-route Transit System which operates not once but twice each hour.

Dunkirk
18 January 2023 6:07 am

If we live in a world where the completely built-out, staffed, equipped & highly subsidized, VIA Rail cannot manage to stop at our local multi-million dollar station more than once a day, to service 150+ proven paying customers, then, how do we expect our Municipality to capitalize, invest and manage a multi-million dollar transit system without customers?

Informed
17 January 2023 8:40 pm

So get a petition started and bring the thousands of signatures forward to support change. I’m so tired of one or two people bringing items forward because they believe that their own opinion speaks for all Town residents. I’m happy this was shot down.You had your two minutes Hope. Now do some work and bring the signatures and supporting facts to support your argument for 2024!

Cobourg taxpayer
17 January 2023 6:01 pm

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was an excess of tax revenue to cover everyone’s wants? Maybe we have a council that sees this is not possible? Look at the growing list: pickle ball courts, subsidized housing, new skateboard park, east pier rebuild, transit, CCC, Venture 13, storm water management, future new police station, additional municipal staff. The county will also be needing more tax money as the expected grants for the new Golden Plow Lodge have fallen through and the project is way over budget. Being one of those that dutifully pays a lot of taxes every year one has to wonder how this can continue
As far as transit what about if a person proves financial need for transit a voucher is provided for partial payment for a taxi? The buses could be eliminated.

New to Cobourg
Reply to  Cobourg taxpayer
18 January 2023 9:33 am

The idea of partial payment for a taxi to those who can provide need us an interesting option. We could eliminate the buses. However I think we would need to encourage Uber as our taxis are limited.

Gerinator
Reply to  New to Cobourg
18 January 2023 5:36 pm

Uber or taxi really doesn’t matter. What matters is that maybe the ‘loss’ experienced by the Town could be eliminated by issuing subsidies to those ‘bus’ travelers. Those subsidies could be issued in the form of passes (perhaps piggy back on the Waterfront Parking passes, perhaps getting some economies of scale). The bus travelers would purchase the passes for use with these Ubers and or taxis; with the service provider getting the money up front via the purchased pass. The Town could take a small % for admin.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Gerinator
18 January 2023 6:19 pm

Gerinator, have you considered the backlash if residents were to realize that each bus user costs us $6.7K per year (as Bryan noted)? That is more than the total property taxes paid by the average Cobourg resident!

Gerinator
Reply to  Ken Strauss
20 January 2023 11:38 am

Is that loss sustainable – no it isn’t. But we seem to be willing to absorb greater costs/per person/per year with the CCC? Apathy is also rampant in Cobourg, so no I don’t expect a backlash. Apparently my suggested use of Uber is upsetting – fine. We do have a regulated business with Taxis. There needs to be a solution(s) presented that enables public transport users the ability to move easily about this Town. Doing away with the buses doesn’t achieve that need.

marya
Reply to  Ken Strauss
22 January 2023 7:51 am

As a Cobourg tax payer (a high paying tax payer) I place considerable value on providing a Public Transit System to allow people to go to work, to school, to recreational activities, to appointments, to go shopping…

Ken Strauss
Reply to  marya
22 January 2023 10:55 am

Marya, do you favour an inconvenient and unreliable public transit system that costs more than providing a personal car for each user? That is what Cobourg has now!

Bryan
Reply to  Gerinator
18 January 2023 8:48 pm

Gerinator,

The challenge with using cabs/Uber for “transit” is that the usage is unregulated and can be easily abused as Innisfil found out to its financial horror.

Innisfil engaged Uber to provide local transit and agreed to a per ride subsidy, Kids started using Uber to travel a few blocks and the subsidy costs increased dramatically, way beyond the previous “bus” costs. This was an unintended consequence
to a good idea.

Solve this and some of the other related issues and subsidized cabs/Uber could be a viable transit alternative.

marya
Reply to  Bryan
19 January 2023 8:33 am

Write On, Bryan! Anything except Uber, please!

Gerinator
Reply to  Bryan
20 January 2023 11:45 am

Bryan you identify some insights re Uber that I don’t have. However our Cabs are regulated. As Ken, above, points out there is a significant deficit cost associated the current implementation of public transport i.e. buses. The Town needs to come up with a solution that doesn’t involve doing away with public transportation. There is a segment of our community that needs this capability/capacity and with implementation of alternative solutions, maybe we can start realizing life-cycle cost savings.

ben
17 January 2023 5:22 pm

This means that the on-demand system will continue and although Hope’s correspondence is listed on the Town’s web site, she will not get a written reply from the Town.

So nothing has changed as far as the attitude towards correspondents and presumably deputations. This Council, only a couple of meetings in, is as obviously as arrogant as the last one. Having Citizens saying their piece and then being summarily dismissed by having their concerns written off as “for information purposes only” is no improvement.

I just hope this will not be the way business is conducted toward Citizen activism in the next four years.

Eastender
Reply to  ben
18 January 2023 8:23 am

I know what you mean. I contacted our new Mayor (via the Town webpage)
to complain about vagrancy and crime in our downtown, as it had affected me personally. Still waiting for a reply…..from last November.

Bryan
Reply to  Eastender
18 January 2023 10:12 am

Eastender,

“Via the Town webpage”. That’s likely why you haven’t received a reply.
Try:
lcleveland@cobourg.ca

or

lucasforcobourg@gmail.com

Rationale
17 January 2023 5:12 pm

Does anyone know if the $6.30 cost per rider is based on On Demand Transit or Fixed Route Transit?

Dave
17 January 2023 4:19 pm

Providing an economic reliable services yes is imperative. However as pointed out the time for change has arrived. Cobourg has grown considerably and is predicted to grow at an even faster rate in the coming years. I hope Cobourg Council will have the foresight to plan on this and will not become trapped into the mentality which has seen other centres not plan for increased population letting their infrastructure and services not accommodate the Writing on the Wall. If they had fixed/replanned the Gardiner Expressway when it was required years ago the costs would have been much, much less. Cobourg has a growing population, aside from the reported kudos to On Demand Transit I have also read people are left waiting and waiting for a bus. There are many who rely upon it for medical appointments and getting to work. Waiting and waiting is not an option. Providing Services is what most people expect their tax dollars to be spent on. There are many without a car and others with old junkers that run only some of the time as they struggle to pay the rents asked today. Fixed Transit allows people to plan the timing of their trip.

Last edited 16 days ago by Dave
beach lover
Reply to  Dave
18 January 2023 9:16 am

I’m very disappointed in Mayor Lucas Cleveland’s flippant response. He doesn’t seem to be forward-looking or in touch with the communities current or future needs. In my experience as a transit user, the on-demand system worked initially but now there are many times when there’s no bus available at all. Or taxis. So there’s actually no way to get to a medical appointment or errand. Isn’t public transit the way of the future for climate change? He campaigned to “unlock Cobourg’s potential” and look “outside to get inspiration” so perhaps he should take a look at Port Hope and/or listen to residents providing feedback rather than just dismissing them.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  beach lover
18 January 2023 10:32 am

Isn’t public transit the way of the future for climate change?

Please help me to understand why mostly empty buses costing us $2M per year are a solution for anything in a small town like Cobourg.

Dave
Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 January 2023 12:17 pm

Prior to the Pandemic the buses had much more ridership. On Demand transit is not popular with many that need to get where they are going and be assured they will have a timely return. When Fixed Transit was running I knew many people that used it on a daily basis. I am always surprised that so many home and car owners feel people without them should have to use taxis. Come to Cobourg the Feel Good town full of well heeled grinches. I’m comfortable could care less if the rest of you are. Perhaps we should change the Cobourg motto to that.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Dave
18 January 2023 12:20 pm

I am always surprised that so many home and car owners feel people without them should have to use taxis. 

I am always surprised that so many without cars feel that the taxpayers should fund their transit needs.

Dave
Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 January 2023 12:32 pm

Growing up prior to age 16 I found public transit was an excellent way to get around.
Those working without cars also pay in Ken but I realize some home owners just don’t see there are others who also expect some service for their tax dollars.

Last edited 15 days ago by Dave
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Dave
18 January 2023 1:16 pm

Dave, I understand that as a teenager taking a bus might be preferable to asking your parents to drive you. Now that you are over 16, do you still feel that public transit is an excellent way to get about?

Have you considered that eliminating the expensive buses would reduce taxes? We could then afford to pay for services that best meet our individual needs.

Dave
Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 January 2023 1:32 pm

The bus cost is subsidized by the Province which I am not mistaken Ken takes in tax money from all provincial tax payers. My wife does not drive, there are times I am not available to drive her so she finds it an excellent, before On Demand, form of transit just as many people who are not fortunate enough to have cars. Additionally as the years go by there could quite possibly come a time for me I will be without a licence. I lived downtown with excellent transit in another city for me to ask my parent with the licence to drive me would have been ludicrous. Perhaps Ken you should see how the other half lives.

Last edited 15 days ago by Dave
SW Buyer
Reply to  Dave
18 January 2023 1:51 pm

Dave,

It’s not about how the other half lives. it’s about public subsidy to the 300 or so individual transit users.
Using Ken’s transit cost of $2M per year, the public are subsidizing the transit users lifestyle in the amount of $6.7K per year.

As noted in other comments, for a town of Cobourg’s size, transit is not a given. 40% of peer communities don’t have transit.

This does not mean we should turn our backs on those who need transportation assistance.
It means that we should find alternatives that fill the need and are more cost effective.

Last edited 15 days ago by SW Buyer
Dave
Reply to  SW Buyer
18 January 2023 2:27 pm

Except Cobourg is slated to grow. I don’t believe interest rates, wage increases affecting cost – labour, materials will go down. During normal times before either the Pandemic and On-Demand the transit was better used. For present needs as the pandemic recedes, perhaps next year, a return to Fixed Transit should be re-considered.

Let’s face it SW Cobourg has very much been a retirement town, more and more people are retiring at earlier ages and stats say they are moving away from large cities to just such places as this. Many will want to use public transit along with new families that will hopefully come as transit to various centres is expanded as it is now, I read Port Hope will be receiving a GO type service to other towns and cities. There will be a wider tax base and also need.

Leave it and the cost only goes up. Foresight and planning. I’ve already sited other things such as delay on infratructure as well comes in the lag in building highways. People complain about climate change – perhaps they should think about the melting Arctic and demand buses be outfitted with pollution free propoents and bus travel be greatly encouraged – all efforts count.

I can think of many reasons Cobourg should not abandon or reduce their public transit SW aside from the fact it has been historically part of tax payer service delivery.

Last edited 15 days ago by Dave
Ken Strauss
Reply to  Dave
18 January 2023 3:01 pm

Claiming that maintaining a bus service today will reduce future costs is not logical. Nor is asserting that mostly empty buses are somehow more climate friendly than cars that are always carrying at least one person. If you are concerned about carbon footprints, why do you think that bringing GO to our area to encourage commuters is acceptable?

Dave
Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 January 2023 7:01 pm

Buses are being updated for pollution control. I see many an old junker – all the person can afford – driving along spewing out its fumes. As for a GO Bus my intent on mentioning it was it is for people without cars or unreliable cars to commute in to nearby areas for work and wish to raise their families outside the large cities. Thereby settling in Cobourg, where they might not of before and then Ken increasing the need for transit here.

I’m sure you have read all the literature put forth today encouraging people to take the bus. Cheaper, less cars on the road – road maintenance, expansion, less crowding on already crowded highways whose building has fallen behind.

And lastly this service enables all citizens the freedom to leave their homes for a whole raft of reasons. Plus of course the fact public transport has alway been part of government service. Like it or not Ken the hands of time are marching on. Cobourg will look entirely different in the coming years for which we should be preparing for.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Dave
18 January 2023 8:03 pm

Dave, transportation being part of government services is a recent change.

One hundred years ago the Toronto Radial Railway system (served the function and many of the towns of today’s GO, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto_and_York_Radial_Railway) was private and for profit. Railroads were private and for profit. Many roads were privately owned, maintained and charged tolls.

Toronto’s streetcar system was privately owned and operated.

Cobourg’s bus service started as Carter’s Coach Service (later Burley Bus Lines) which were private for profit companies. 

These services enabled citizens the freedom to leave their homes for a whole raft of reasons.

Last edited 15 days ago by Ken Strauss
Dave
Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 January 2023 9:34 pm

Ken you wrote “One Hundred years ago Toronto Radial Railway system ….. was private
The rest you did not provide dates on
TTC, – year privately owned?
Carter’s Coach Service – years of operation?
Burley Bus Lines – years of operaation?

I am aware they recently cancelled a bus service that ran to Peterborough and since then you must be a car owner to make the trip.

A lot of things have changed in 100 years Ken just as they are here. Port Hope runs their bus service as another poster said and it is smaller than Cobourg.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Dave
18 January 2023 10:31 pm

Dave, I didn’t realize that you wanted dates. Toronto Radial Railway 1885-1927 with some portions until 1936, Toronto’s electric streetcars were private from 1890-1921, unsure when Carter started but sold to Burley in 1952. Cobourg contracted with a private service starting in 1976.

Dave
Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 January 2023 11:19 pm

Really Ken! Your most recent 1976 sale goes a long way back in very different times. The rest are memories covered in dust that I see has no bearing on today’s needs.
However it does show transit has been not been private for a very great length of time and must have stopped as it was not feasible.

Last edited 14 days ago by Dave
SW Buyer
Reply to  Dave
19 January 2023 12:01 am

Dave,

You wrote “… However it does show transit has been not been private for a very great length of time and must have stopped as it was not feasible…. “

It doesn’t show that at all.

As SW notes below, look at Quinte West Transit: a private (ie not government) non profit transit operation.

ben
Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 January 2023 9:59 pm

“These services enabled citizens the freedom to leave their homes for a whole raft of reasons.”

It also confined people to their homes because of the lack of means to use the private transit!

SW Buyer
Reply to  Dave
18 January 2023 9:24 pm

Dave,

You wrote “… this service enables all citizens the freedom to leave their homes for a whole raft of reasons… “. This is an absurd statement.

A transit does not enable “freedom for all citizens”. It facilitates the movement of some citizens (about 300 in Cobourg’s case) to and from a limited number of places within limited timeframes.

You also wrote “…  the fact public transport has always been part of government service…). True in a broad brush context, but not in the specific case. There are numerous small Ontario towns that don’t have municipal transit. 5 of 7 Northumberland municipalities don’t have municipal transit. 40% of Cobourg’s peer (similar pop) communities don’t have municipal transit.

Some towns, such as Quinte West have a private (non profit) transit service that is funded for the most part by grants and public & corporate donations. Some of the staff are volunteers.

Dave
Reply to  SW Buyer
19 January 2023 12:57 am

I see you fail to name the towns?, villages? in Northumberland that don’t have public transit SW. However you and Ken both feel pressed for money evidently.

Perhaps you should consider with regard to your houses the wise advice given to a captain on a foundering ship – “Don’t go down with the ship – SELL IT!”

In the past 20 years cities and towns the size of Cobourg have provided public transit. It is a selling point in ensuring economic prosperity in local shopping and attraction of new residents. However i you want Cobourg to become a backwater, shrinking, not growing that sure advocate for a town in which a car travel is the only way to get around. You’ll see an steep increase in on-line shopping and travel to other centres.

SW Buyer
Reply to  Dave
19 January 2023 7:37 am

Dave,

You seem to be a reasonably intelligent person, so I don’t understand how you don’t know which Towns in Northumberland have Transit. I gave you a clue: 5 of 7 don’t. Cobourg does, as does PH. That means the rest don’t.

You claim that “In the past 20 years cities and towns the size of Cobourg have provided public transit.” But you fail to name them. Why the double standard?

As I noted, 40% of Cobourg’s peer communities (KPMG) don’t have transit. Perhaps you didn’t understand that statement.

Last edited 14 days ago by SW Buyer
ben
Reply to  SW Buyer
19 January 2023 8:07 am

I know this will fall on deaf ears but you should read this: https://www.thingsaregood.com/2023/01/18/hop-aboard-the-free-transit-movement/

SW Buyer
Reply to  ben
19 January 2023 8:47 am

Ben,
You shouldn’t make assumptions about people you know nothing about.
It reduces your credibility

ben
Reply to  SW Buyer
19 January 2023 1:03 pm

You read it then and then voted it down without comment. If you did that , tells me a lot about you and your ability to engage.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  ben
19 January 2023 1:36 pm

Ben, free is always appealing! What could be better than a free ride (no pun intended) with someone else paying the bills. Dave noted that we get free money from the province for Cobourg’s transit system. Why not make transit entirely free instead of subsidizing each rider by only $6,700?

Dave
Reply to  Ken Strauss
19 January 2023 2:00 pm

Never said it was free Ken. Every city that runs transit does it at a deficit with assists from the Province in the way of subsidization.

But then after reading the article in Northumberland News apparently our new mayor states he is against public transit here stating, overlooking Port Hope right next door that is smaller, that Cobourg is too small to support it. And here he said he was forward thinking! Looks like we will be treated to many more yesterday ideas in his mayorship along with a shanty town of which he is in favour in the middle of Cobourg.

Last edited 14 days ago by Dave
Dave
Reply to  John Draper
19 January 2023 2:27 pm

After reading his comments about the transit being a luxury service and directing Council to consider what is essential/non essential as they discussed the subject and his comments that similar size towns did not offer public transit, along with asking if prior Councils had voted to eliminate it to Willis John I read it as not in favour as there was not one positive comment with regard to the service. That is what brought me to my conclusion. If you feel I have overstepped in my conclusion John I have no objection to you eliminating my comment as Blog Administrator.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Dave
19 January 2023 8:22 am

Dave, it seems obvious that online shopping with Amazon and its competitors (not local shopping) is clearly the way of the future as you seem fond of mentioning. Yes, in the recent past a few smaller towns have provided public transit perhaps in a futile effort to encourage local shopping. That reason is no longer relevant. Local shopping is dead!

Have you considered the difficulties of seniors shopping via bus — walking to a bus stop, waiting for the bus, shopping, waiting for the bus and then carrying your purchases from the bus stop to your home. This is hardly appropriate for an aging population many of whom may have mobility issues!

SW Buyer
Reply to  Dave
18 January 2023 3:23 pm

Dave,

Your primary assumption that population growth results in increased transit demand isn’t supported by the ridership data for the past 10 years. The number of transit rides in 2013 and 2019 are essentially the same at about 110K

The number of transit users is small, about 300

You also assume that busses are the only way to deliver “public transit”. Partially/selectively subsidized “private transit” (cabs, Uber, bike share/rental) are options.

Dave
Reply to  SW Buyer
18 January 2023 4:42 pm

The Pandemic greatly reduced ridership. On Demand?? I have heard many things such as longer wait times and people requiring to be at work early that probably work in the factories. Have you looked at the rents lately? As for subsidizing taxis are you sure that will make the solution viable? As for UBER it is unfortunate we read of so many incidents of untrained drivers and actual attacks on passengers plus many not getting business insurance and so are uncovered.

Anyway I have yet to read anyone coming back on the Climate Change and the shape our northern perimeters are having on them with warming.

Concerned
Reply to  Dave
19 January 2023 2:04 pm

The longer wait times are because the provider is not able to provide the full compliment of drivers. Maybe someone looking for work should look to be a driver for the third party provider. My understanding is that they have yet to have one day with a full compliment of drivers so how are we supposed to know if on-demand actually works.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Dave
18 January 2023 2:54 pm

Dave, I’m certain that you understand that any Provincial subsidy is money collected in taxes on gasoline, restaurant meals, salted nuts and most everything else that we buy. It is ridiculous to suggest that it is not an expense to Cobourg’s taxpayers.

You are correct that as we age many will be unable to drive their own cars. This is why Cobourg needs a viable taxi service without taxpayer subsidized competition from buses. Would you prefer to trudge through snow to wait at a bus stop or have a taxi at your door?

Last edited 15 days ago by Ken Strauss
ben
Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 January 2023 9:56 pm

“Have you considered that eliminating the expensive buses would reduce taxes? We could then afford to pay for services that best meet our individual needs.”

Ken if you want to reduce your taxes have you ever considered moving into property where you would pay less? Asking others to cut their cloth is easy – are you prepared to do it?

Informed
Reply to  Dave
18 January 2023 3:01 pm

Prior to 16 we walked, used a bike or skateboarded. We wouldn’t be caught dead riding a transit. We road it around the whole route for 25 cents when it first came to Cobourg. Haven’t been on it since.

Dave
Reply to  Informed
18 January 2023 4:48 pm

Perhaps you did in smaller Cobourg. But Cobourg is growing now. This does not address the fact many people who are not teenagers use the system and would find it more difficult to walk from say Walmart to downtown, east Cobourg and even behind the Mall. Just one excusion example. I am aware that many who are protesting here are home owners. When one finds expenses of home ownership too much many downsize realizing they can no longer afford their homes but they do have the option to downsize unlike many who use the transit even car ownership is above them. Currrently there is a taxi shortage so I guess unless the Town can attract a great number of taxis the solution would be for those people to walk.

ben
Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 January 2023 9:54 pm

“I am always surprised that so many without cars feel that the taxpayers should fund their transit needs.”

As usual a statement by a person who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing spouted off from a large luxury house and presumably an owner of maybe two cars.

If you do not feel any sympathy towards the person who has no car, cannot afford a car and needs to travel around the Town and work, then perhaps you are not a caring person with any regard to the plight of others.

It is very easy to call for the abolition of a service based on the cost but as pointed out by others not all Municipal services pay for them selves. These loss leaders are necessities for other taxpayers, God help us if you are successful in shutting down the services you consider to be losers. Just what kind of quality of life are advocating for Cobourg?

Last edited 14 days ago by ben
beach lover
Reply to  Ken Strauss
18 January 2023 8:53 pm

As I recall, those fixed route buses were large full-sized buses.The on-demand buses are much smaller. Why can’t Cobourg use the smaller, compact buses on a fixed route? The cost would be lower and it would be more sustainable than adding more cars, parking, emissions etc.

Ken Strauss
17 January 2023 4:01 pm

John, I believe that the $1.07M cost you mentioned is misleading. The actual cost in the 2022 budget is $1,401,524. If we include the provincial gas tax of $203K (could be used for other expenses) the cost is over $1.6M. Further, the Capital Budget includes $240,000 each year for bus replacements. So, all in, the cost is almost $2M or about 7% of the levy (total property taxes collected).

Last edited 16 days ago by Ken Strauss
cornbread
Reply to  John Draper
18 January 2023 8:22 am

Perhaps users should pay one-half the total cost of a ride…based on the $2 Million total actual cost.