Tecumseh Pursuing Funding for On-Demand Transit Program

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Tecumseh is hoping to get the wheels turning for an on-demand transit service.

The town has submitted a funding application to the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative aimed at helping municipalities adjust to new needs arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

If approved, the town would launch a one-year pilot project which would see a bus operate on requests for service rather than a fixed route.

Ward 4 councillor Brain Houston says a program like this could help with expansion as well.

"I'm happy to support this and really see where we can go with our system and there's always been talk of extending deeper into Ward 4," says Houston.  "So where can we really reach more of our residents through this type of a system?"

Councillor Bill Altenhof says Tecumseh could be a pioneer in next level transportation.

"I see this really as an awesome research opportunity," he says.  "Very happy to see that we're taking a bit of initiative to look at these things. We may find some very interesting things that we never thought of and other municipalities throughout Ontario, or the world potentially, could appreciate this."

Councillor Rick Tonial says there's a long list of potential benefits.

"I love the idea in all aspects," says Tonial.  "How it affects our carbon footprint, our vehicle use, our service to our community and the cost savings. So great job administration on finding this and hopefully we're successful on the application for the grant."

Tecumseh currently operates its transit system on a fixed route and schedule 12-hours a day, six days a week, but according to a report the bus often runs with few to no passengers during off-peak times.

The town is seeking $40,000 in grant funding to launch the on-demand program — there's no word yet when successful applications will be announced.

The federal government has made $31-million available to municipalities through the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative.