The town of Innisfil, Ontario, a place I don’t recall ever having been in beyond probably driving through it on my way someplace else, has come up with an interesting idea.
After conducting an assessment of what it would take to build a public transit system in the mostly rural community of around 36,000, council came to the conclusion that paying for buses, people to drive the buses, people to maintain the buses, people to manage the people who drive and maintain the buses and whatever other managers and planners are required to make sure buses run smoothly just didn’t make sense there. It would cost too much and wouldn’t be all that efficient, not that most bus systems are really all that efficient when you stop and think about how many times it’s taken you an hour to get someplace that you could have driven to in 10-15 minutes. But since they still wanted to move people around, they thought a bit outside the box and may have just figured it out. Uber.
Instead of building transit infrastructure from scratch, the town says it’s helping subsidize the cost of Uber rides to certain areas.
Passengers can hail a ride through a mobile app and pay $3 to go to local community centres, $4 to be taken to any of the local GO Bus regional transit stops, and $5 to be taken to the GO train station in neighbouring Barrie, Ont.
Innisfil says it will also kick in $5 a ride for every person who wants to travel within the town to destinations other than the various designated points.
Provided the Uber drivers there aren’t service dog rejecting shitheads like they’ve become here in KW and that accessible vehicles will be available upon request, this is a hell of a concept and I’ll be interested to see if other communities start following a similar model. It could be good for everyone, but especially for older people and people with disabilities who often feel as though they have to live in a bigger city regardless of whether or not they want to in order to gain or maintain any level of independence.