SCUGOG: Local politicians expressed their displeasure with recent decisions made by Metrolinx, at a meeting of Scugog council on Monday, October 7th. In the summer, Metrolinx decided to discontinue Go Bus route 81A. The company attempted to explain the change in a letter from CEO Phil Verster to Township officials, that was included as part of Scugog’s meeting agenda. “We are always monitoring our services to ensure we are making the best use of our resources. After careful consideration of our ridership numbers, we have decided to discontinue, reduce and adjust service on some GO bus routes to ensure we’re using our resources when and where they’re needed more. In the case of Route 81 and 81A, the lack of demand could not justify continuing the service as it was,” read the letter. The correspondence goes on to state “those travelling between Port Perry and Whitby can continue to use the service still offered along GO bus Route 81,” and the Durham Region Transit route 950 is an alternative option. But, the letter also noted, “service on Route 81 has been reduced to four trips daily to better match demand.” The response didn’t sit right with Ward 1 Scugog Councillor Ian McDougall, who felt Metrolinx should have provided the Region of Durham with the tax money saved from the changes. “I don’t believe it answers hardly any of our questions,” he said. “Those funds are not returned to our regional partners to bolster our service, and I have no doubt those funds are not coming back to us. I would like to see them answer the motion I put forward.” In late June, Scugog council passed a motion from Councillor McDougall to ask Metrolinx to restore the 81a bus, to have Metrolinx “present to Council at the Township of Scugog how the identified reductions and rout elimination of 81a has been formulated,” and to have the Ministry of Transportation, Metrolinx and Region of Durham “explore the option of commuter parking in Manchester, to assist multimodal transportation.” Earlier in the meeting, Ward 5 Councillor Lance Brown asked Regional Chair John Henry his thoughts on Metrolinx’s recent changes during the Regional official’s address to council. “I really cannot figure out Metrolinx at all,” he said. “I’m discouraged by the way Metrolinx forgets about the most important item they need, and that’s people.” The Regional Chair stated his frustration with the company’s decision to all of a sudden look at four different route options for the Bowmanville Go Train. “I’m equally as frustrated as you are about how Metrolinx is trying to figure out the transit system, and we continue to fight for the services that our residents deserve,” he said.
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