On-Demand ParaTransit Service Waiting for Green Light

Committee pledges funding to help spread the word about the proposed program Amanda Rabski-McColl, LJI Reporter
Published August 24, 2023

On-demand bus service for people with disabilities is getting closer to hitting the road.

The proposed program would allow users to book a ride through Timmins Transit up to an hour in advance.

Staff has narrowed down the list of vendors to provide the software for the services and is now looking at advertising options, said Marcel Côté, Timmins Transit manager.

“The bid proposals were submitted, they’ve been reviewed, reports have been done, so we’re just waiting for the approval committee to review and select a winner,” said Côté.

That decision is expected by the end of the month, he said.

The proposal still needs to be passed by Timmins council, but the Municipal Accessibility Advisory Committee (MAAC) voted to support the advertising costs for the program at its Aug. 23 meeting.

“Our role as MAAC is to bring down barriers in this community and that’s the idea of this fund,” said Dan McKay, MAAC’s chairperson. “This is our way of bringing down barriers.”

The estimated cost is $37,500, which includes bus wraps for the city’s six paratransit vehicles at a cost of $6,250 each.

“My hope is to have all six paratransit buses fully wrapped, advertising the service, at least a few months in advance,” said Côté.

The on-demand service will not require hiring more drivers.

“The number of staff we have who have been trained, and the eight-week implementation process, we should have everybody trained and ready to go once we kick this off,” said Côté. “We will have somebody on stand-by waiting for the call.”

There are six paratransit buses in the Timmins Transit fleet, with two being used daily.

Coun. Bill Gvozdanovic sees the program as a necessity for people with disabilities. He said he’d do whatever he could to see the program move forward.

“I will certainly advocate for that because there’s no reason that money should get in the way of something like this,” said Gvozdanovic. “It’s their right to be able to have it on-demand, I like it.”

About the Author:

Amanda Rabski-McColl is a Diversity Reporter under the Local Journalism Initiative, which is funded by the Government of Canada

Original at https://www.timminstoday.com/local-news/on-demand-paratransit-service-waiting-for-green-light-7451605