City proposes new vision for Guelph Transit

Guelph Transit route review sets direction to 2031

Guelph, Ont., November 5, 2021 – City staff will share a new vision for Guelph Transit with Council and the public on November 15. It’s a proposal that demonstrates how staff intends to create a more convenient, reliable and sustainable transit network that meets the needs of the community today and into 2031.

“The Transit Business Service Review included 12 recommendations of which several have already been implemented. This route review allowed us to address yet another recommendation to look at both holistic system changes as well as individual route modification and also link this work to significant master plans being developed across the organization to meet our strategic priorities,” says Robin Gerus, general manager of Guelph Transit.

Over the course of 20 months, City staff engaged the community, members of the Council- appointed Transit Advisory Committee, and internal staff; they reviewed the City’s guiding policy documents and plans and studied industry best practices. This process resulted in three alternatives for the transit network—Future Ready Plan, High Frequency Plan, and 1% Levy Plan. City staff is recommending the Future Ready Plan that incorporates feedback received from public engagement sessions where residents made it clear that frequent and convenient transit is a priority for the community. This plan also aims to increase trips by 4.29 million over 13 years.

The preferred plan moves to a grid structure, away from a central hub system, with higher service levels on major corridors and expanded Sunday service hours through the implementation of on-demand service. Pending Council approval of the Future Ready Plan, implementation is set to start in 2022 with most of the changes happening in the first seven years of the 10-year plan.

This plan leads and supports several of the corporate initiatives already in motion to meet the City’s Strategic Plan priorities including mobility service to ensure equitable access to essential destinations, reductions in severe or fatal collisions, and reduction of greenhouse gases.

The Guelph Transportation Master Plan and the Transit Action Plan, which includes the route review project, were conducted simultaneously and are supportive of each other. The Future Ready Plan aligns with the Transportation Master Plan’s values of being safe, equitable, complete, sustainable, affordable, and supportive of land use by creating a more connected route network with increased service frequency. These changes, paired with the proposed transit priority measures in the Transportation Master Plan, work together to achieve a quality transit network.

Financial Implications
The required funding to implement and sustain this plan is complicated and resourced from a number of initiatives.

The vision for transit also supports the City’s goal of 100% Renewable Energy (100RE) by converting all buses to electric over the next 15 plus years. This funding has not been approved by Council and is identified in the City Building Strategy document that will be presented as part of the 2022/23 City budget.

The estimated annual net operating cost for 2022 and 2023 of the Future Ready Plan is $1.77 million and $1.26 million respectively. To fund The Future Ready Plan, including the capital investment over 10 years, the total property tax levy impact would be a 1.26 per cent increase for 2022 and 0.45 per cent for 2023. The preferred plan costs have been included in the City Building Strategy document and are not included as part of the staff proposed budget.

In addition, the City will receive up to $83.1 million from the Federal Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) Transit stream to help fund this plan, along with investment in the Active Transportation Network. Funding is provided by both the Federal and Provincial governments, and in order to receive this funding, the City has to meet the obligations of the ICIP Transfer Payment Agreement (TPA), which outlines that Guelph Transit needs to grow the system, increase ridership, and increase modal share. Staff is seeking approval from Council to execute the TPA based on their approval of the Future Ready Plan and associated capital projects.

Future transit projects
Along with The Future Ready Plan, the following transit projects complete the Transit Action Plan over the next 15 plus years: a new Guelph Transit facility as part of the Operations Campus, a new facility at Guelph Central Station, electrification of the 35 existing, and all future, transit buses, and investment in additional buses to meet continued population growth. The total capital investment required over the next 10 years is $253.9 million.

Next steps
If the staff recommended plan is approved at Council on November 15, and the budget is approved on December 2, staff will move forward to create a detailed service implementation plan.

Residents can address Council about the transit vision through a written submission or by phone at the November 15 Council meeting. Please register as a delegate or make a submission by 10 a.m. November 12 using the online delegate request form, contacting the City Clerk’s office at 519-837-5603 or emailing [email protected].

Resources
Watch the Council meetings at guelph.ca/live.
Transit Business Service Review

Budget 2022 and 2023
Operations Campus
Transit bus electrification

Media contact
Robin Gerus
General Manager – Transit Operations
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 3321
[email protected]