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Transit executive committee: fare incentives, on demand ridership, transit assistance program, and p

DURHAM: Members of the Transit Executive Committee (TEC) met virtually on Wednesday, April 7th, to discuss various Durham Region Transit (DRT) initiatives and updates.

To encourage and increase ridership among youth in Durham Region, TEC approved the popular Y10 monthly pass be discounted to $53.50, from the current discounted price of $73.50. TEC also approved a bulk pass purchase pilot, which would be available to school boards in Durham Region and Durham Student Transportation Services.

“It is important that residents view public transit as a safe, reliable and competitive way to travel. DRT’s youth-focused fare incentives provide increasing opportunities for the next generation of riders to experience our transit system to travel to school, to work, and to our local facilities and events when they are safe to re-open,” said John Henry, Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer.

On Demand ridership continues to grow in areas that have experienced low ridership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and across the rural areas of the Region. The Municipality of Clarington recorded 33 percent of all On Demand ridership in the month of January. Through mid-March 2021, data indicates that ridership within low demand areas have not yet reached the thresholds to return to scheduled routes.

“We are excited to see the continued development of DRT’s On Demand service. There is an appetite for this new, flexible way to travel when scheduled service is not feasible. Our service-focused virtual Public Information Centre at the end of April is a great opportunity for residents to share their ideas and speak with staff about our current and future transit network,” explained Bill Holmes, General Manager of DRT.

Results and recommendations for the TAP pilot, which launched in 2019, were shared with members of TEC. The results included data from over 4,950 PRESTO cards as well as various feedback surveys. TEC approved that TAP be extended through March 2023, with additional options, including pay-as-you-go and Period Pass. Paper Access Passes will be transitioned onto PRESTO by fall 2021.

“Data is at the core of all decisions made at DRT. A major benefit to PRESTO is the ridership data and patterns, which provide insight for the allocation of resources where they are needed most. The extension of the TAP pilot ensures that barriers continue to be removed for as many customers as possible,” stated Shaun Collier, Mayor of Ajax and Chair of the Transit Executive Committee. TEC approved the staff recommendation to reintroduce paper transfers on a trial basis, starting May 3rd, 2021. During the trial period and effective June 1st, 2021, the regular $6 fee will apply when purchasing a new PRESTO card.

Ontario Power Generation donated $10,000 to DRT to support residents travelling to the Region’s clinics to receive their COVID-19 vaccine. Staff will soon be communicating how customers can use DRT On Demand and Specialized Services for free when travelling to get their vaccination.

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