Prince Edward County is planning to start from scratch when it comes to solving a difficult and growing transportation problem. Just this week, County Council opted to discontinue subsidizing a URide program that had mixed results at best. This on the heels of a weekend that saw County OPP lay 7 impaired driving charges in a three day span.
Local taxi availability has been made more difficult by a corporate contract with the Mushroom Plant that takes one of the cab companies out of the equation completely. Cab fares have also skyrocketed… a 35 kilometer cab ride from Belleville to Picton now costs the same as a 450 km flight from Toronto to Ottawa. This in a place that has built its economy on alcohol based tourism.
The County is planning what it is calling a community transportation strategy refresh in 2024, using a specialized consultant funded through the provincial Community Transportation Grant program. This strategy refresh will look at the ecosystem of transportation options (including taxis and other modes), to make recommendations for the future of transit and community transportation in The County.
It says the focus will largely be on transit, but other modes of transportation will be included in the analysis. County officials say the last strategy was developed pre-pandemic and before the growth in Picton and Wellington was being contemplated. They say this is the time to look at community needs now and in the future to make sure the system will meet needs and be sustainable.
The strategy work would be funded through the Community Transportation Grant, which is part of the PEC transit services section of the 2024 operating budget, set to be deliberated next week.