Cochrane Town Council unanimously approved the recommendations of the Transit Task Force at their meeting last night (September 10).
Town staff is in the process of preparing an RFP for an on-demand transit service based on the service standards that were approved at last night's council meeting, with information coming back for Council's consideration during the 2019-2021 budget deliberations in December.
An RFP will provide council with an accurate cost for a five-year pilot project and will determine whether or not council will finally give the green light to implementation.
Recommending an on-demand transit service which would be a mix of ride-hailing technology and public transit with routes based on demand, transit riders would be able to book trips through a mobile app, website or phone. The service would increase or decrease depending on the usage with the cost being roughly $2.50 per trip with the opportunity of monthly subscriptions.
The talk of implementing a transit system has been part of a back and forth debate in town for many years and Councillor Tara McFadden says the project has included lots of community input. "I would like to say this is the most extensive public engagement process I have been through in the 10 years of my career as a Councillor. I certainly feel that this is the best opportunity with the lowest risk to provide transit for our residents and I feel it's past time. I don't think we will be able to get another opportunity to do this with this low of a cost to our residents for another decade or so. With that being said though we do need the final numbers and that's why I support the RFP so that council can debate actual knowledge."
Back in 2011, the Town of Cochrane was approved for $9 million in provincial GreenTRIP funding which runs out in December 2020.
The Transit Task Force included Mayor Jeff Genung, Councillor Marni Fedeyko, Councillor Tara Mcfadden, one Family Community Support Services Advisory Board Member, one Cochrane Society for Housing Options representative, four public at large members as well as the town CAO and transit analyst as non-voting members.
RFP recommendations will include cost proposals for transit operation during the five-year pilot project timeframe, software/scheduling systems, and transit service hours.