Wheels put in motion for the future of Barrie’s transit network

City is seeking feedback on Barrie's Transit Vision

The last thing anybody wants to see is Barrie Transit spinning its wheels.

The City is asking residents to share their vision for the future of Barrie’s transit network through an online public engagement platform.

Barrie’s Transit Vision will focus on understanding transit habits, collecting feedback on network preferences and receiving comments on Barrie Transit’s guiding principals. Whether you ride the system or not, the City wants to hear from you.

“The City is currently building a blueprint for growing the existing transit system to best meet Barrie’s needs and goals today, while developing a long-term plan for a future network,” said Brent Forsyth, Director of Transit and Parking Strategy. “Barrie’s Transit Vision focuses on creating a plan for the 2022 transit network in coordination with the Allandale Mobility Hub, future phases for the network and an infrastructure plan to place bus stops when and where they are needed.”

Public consultation on this phase of Barrie’s Transit Vision closes Mar. 1, 2021. Additional public consultation opportunities will take place throughout the year.

Transformation of Barrie’s transit network actually began taking shape last August when Transit ON Demand was launched. The pilot project, servicing an area from Huronia Road and Lockhart Road to Bayview and Little Avenue, has turned out to be a success. Riders are receiving faster trips, shorter wait times and reporting high satisfaction.

“It’s a cost-effective way to continue delivering service in those low-demand areas where they may not quite warrant mass transit,” explained Forsyth.

Beginning Sunday, Feb. 20, the conventional service model for Route 11 will shift to Transit ON Demand. Route 11 is the lowest-performing in terms of ridership and was launched in 2016 to connect the Lockhart subdivision and Saunders Road employment areas with the Park Place Transit Hub, allowing for seamless transfers between routes. Prior to the pandemic, Route 11 was operating with an average of five passengers boarding per hour.

Forsyth said an on-demand transit service offers many potential future benefits for Barrie’s residents. Transit ON Demand optimizes bus schedules in real-time based on ridership requests via a free mobile app. The service is without a fixed schedule or route. It operates from bus stop to bus stop within a specific zone. Riders select their trip start and end locations, and a departure time based on availability. The app lets riders know when their bus will arrive and how long until they reach their destination. Trips can be booked up to seven days in advance with no limit to the number of bookings per day.