If you religiously listen to the Guelph Politicast (and why wouldn't you), then you will recall March's episode on Regional Transit, which included an interview with Chris Hughes, Manager of Contract Services for the City of Owen Sound. Hughes talked about a proposed daily bus to Guelph from Owen Sound sponsored by some start up money from the Ministry of Transportation Ontario. Follow-up: the MTO has approved it.
As reported in the Owen Sound Sun Times, the Ministry of Transportation Ontario has approved a $1.44 million grant for the City of Owen Sound to develop and implement a pilot project for a daily bus from Owen Sound to Guelph, and a return trip from Guelph back to Owen Sound. “I'm really happy. I was thrilled when I got that letter,” Owen Sound Mayor Ian Boddy told the Sun Times. “I think it's important for Owen Sound and Grey County and all the way down to Guelph. It gives us some connectivity from Guelph as a hub to Toronto, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, London.”
As reported in Guelph Politicast #117, a singular GO bus presently services Owen Sound with daily trips to Barrie with connections to Toronto; an Abouttown NorthLink bus that connected Owen Sound and London was cancelled in 2013. With Owen Sound just less than two hours away from the Royal City, a connection between the two makes sense as Guelph offers public transit connections along the 401 corridor from Toronto, to Peel Region, to London, and Windsor.
The MTO made over $30 million available for the Community Transportation Grant Program, which asked for tenders from Ontario municipalities for new regional transit solutions. Owen Sound will have one year to implement the program from when they sign the agreement with the MTO, and the seven-day-a-week bus line to Guelph will be funded for four years. Exact timing for the new bus route is not yet known.
“Once we get the consultant going, we'll have a better idea of the timeline,” Hughes told the Sun Times.