The Town's new transit co-ordinator wants seniors to get on the bus-- the Activan bus. A concerted effort is being made to lure more riders to use the town-operated transit system, Activan. Ridership criteria had been relaxed last year to allow seniors, age 65 and older, and a wider range of people with disabilities to use the two-bus system. "This is the new Activan service," said Don Clarkson, in his first, but enthusiastic, presentation to council recently. "You don't have to be going to the doctor or going to the hospital for physio to take advantage of our program. You could be going to the seniors' centre to play bridge or do your shopping at the Superstore or wherever you happen to shop or even going to the movies. All we have to know is where you want to go and what time you want to return and we need to know that the day before, at the latest." Ridership registrations are increasing, with the Town receiving five to 10 calls a day asking for an application to ride the bus. Riders must fill out a free application to become a registered rider, just so the program ensures that they are eligible for the service. Ridership increased substantially in the fall from 125 to 210 registrations after advertising was placed in local newspapers. He plans to continue with the advertising, supplemented with posters, fridge magnets and other "get the message out there" ideas. As ridership increases, the cost per trip drops, he explained. His goal is to double ridership to 4,000 trips in 2007 from the nearly 2,200 last year. Clarkson took on the job as the new transit co-ordinator position in September. "I've enjoyed every minute of it so far," he said. "I particularly like the feeling of satisfaction that goes with helping deserving people with solutions to their transportation problems.
It's very gratifying." As part of his duties he will also take over the booking and dispatching of calls by February 19. This service was previously provided by Tyler Transport personnel. "The advantage of bringing the
Activan. Clarkson also plans to take Activan to a cash-less fare system by the end of February. Tickets will become avail able at various locations around town such as the libraries or the seniors' centre. As well, service hours will be booking in-house is that that now we increased to accommodate some can do a more thorough job of com- requests for transportation during municating because promoting and evening hours and on weekends. Aftermanaging Activan is our core busi- hour trips will be upped by $1 over the ness," Clarkson said. regular $2 fare and must be made at Council also awarded the tender for least 48 hours in advance. Activan drivers to Tyler Transport Ltd "The decision to expand the service of Acton for $113,000 in 2007 and for has been a very positive step for $135,000, plus the Consumer Price seniors and the disabled members in Index, in each of the subsequent years this community," said Ward 3 of the four-year contract. Tyler was the Councillor Moya Johnson, and chair of only applicant for the job. the town's Accessibility Advisory Clarkson attributed the slight drop Committee. "We've had very positive in ridership in 2006 over 2005 due to feedback from people using the serthe startup of North Halton Rides. vice." However a deal has been struck that if To register as a subscriber call 905riders request out-of-town trips, 873-2601 ext. 2617. Hours of operaClarkson will refer them to North tion are Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4:30 Halton Rides, and if the rider calls p.m. North Halton Rides and requests an in
Pat Graham (left) driver of the Halton Hills Activan, joined Transit Co-ordinator Don Clarkson in showing off the newest addition to the service. The Town is urging seniors and people with disabilities to use the local bus system more frequently.