Milton Transit to review Saturday Service

Milton Council approved my notice of motion last night to have staff review Saturday transit service.

Milton TransitThe town has been operating this service for 18 months and so far have fallen short of expectations. Ridership on a number of the routes has been decreasing on a quarterly basis since last year.

For example Route #4 Thompson Clark

Saturday Revenue Passenger Trips per Revenue Service Hour – Monthly (unaudited numbers)

Q1 – 10.7

Q2 – 9.0

Q3 – 4.2

Q4 – 4.1

NOW, lets compare this to Weekly numbers for the same route.

Weekly Revenue Passenger Trips per Reveune Service Hour – Monthly (unaudited numbers)

Q1 – 22.6

Q2 – 20.4

Q3 – 14.8

Q4 – 20.9

Saturday Route # 6 Scott

Q1 – 4.9

Q2 – 7.0

Q3 – 5.3

Q4 – 5.2

Weekly Route # 6 Scott

Q1 – 10.8

Q2 – 12.0

Q3 – 12.2

Q4 – 12.1

There have been 3 routes that have slightly increased in numbers but only marginally over the last 12 months. Highest revenue passenger ride for a route in the last 3 quarters has been 9.0 while the lowest is 4.0

What these numbers show me is that this service is far under utilized by Milton residents and one of two actions need to be taken. Either cancel the service for the time being or review the routes, see if we can make them more conducive to what Milton transit riders need and make it more efficient.

Milton Transit regularly polls their customers but to be quite honest the more telling comments come from non users. And not just the ones who will never use Milton Transit, but those who could, but don’t. The ones who have to pick their kids up from child care after work and need their vehicle once they step off the GO train in the evening. The ones who could use it to get to their part-time job but the service isn’t available after a particular hour for them to come home.

This is where we need to build the service around. Do we need routes during the day running at 1/2 hr service times or would 1hr suffice for the time being?

These are the questions we need to have answers to. Last council approved a Transit Master Plan, which in my opinion, and the opinion of others, painted a rather rosy picture of transit growth and set benchmarks that even in ideal circumstances wouldn’t be met. I didn’t approve of the master plan, but it passed regardless.

This review of Saturday transit is what I personally feel is something we should be doing every year, but the results will be telling. In my opinion, if Saturday ridership numbers do not increase, council will once again be forced to look at options. We cannot simply be paying to provide a service that very few use.

Imagine if the Town of Milton provided recreational programs, staffing, time and resources that very few people utilized? It would be looked at and if it couldn’t be improved, more than likely that program would be cancelled.

It’s the same with transit. With roughly $350,000 per year (my approximation) being spent on Saturday transit and participation in that service not increasing or in some cases declining, something has to be done.

Lets look at different routes that get people to where they need to go on Saturday. Downtown Milton, shopping centres, Milton Sports Centre, the hospital, the libraries….feel free to add some more if I’ve missed any.

Will that mean a possible increase in travel time? Maybe an increase in the time between buses in some areas?

Right now our transit system is built around the GO Station. That might make sense for Monday to Friday, but Saturday it doesn’t. So let’s make some Saturday only routes, educate the public on these routes, encourage them to use the service, give it a try…

There were some suggestions made that we look at increasing the time for transfers so that they can be used within a 3 hour period instead of immediately after. Another idea is allowing 12 and under children ride for free.

Will that help a dad or mom make a choice “My kids will ride for free, so let’s try the bus.” ? We don’t know the answer to that question. We need to start asking them in order to get the answers.

Feel free to pass along this information to your friends and neighbours. I want to provide staff with enough information so that we can improve the system, make it more efficient and in turn save some taxpayers dollars.

If we continue on this path of hoping ridership goes up without making an effort, we are effectively tossing money out the window while patting ourselves on the back that we have a transit system. Lets make it the best it can be and as economical as possible. Lets build a system on successes rather than on “we hope it works out”

If you build something on a poor foundation, the whole structure will fall as you continue to build on it. Lets build a solid, efficient and cost-effective transit structure to build on as we continue to grow.

What to do on Family Day in Milton 2014

Wondering what to do on Family Day in Milton? Here’s a list of events for February 17th. http://www.milton.ca/en/play/familyday.asp

You can come meet Toronto Rock lacrosse player Garret Billings who is going to hold a clinic as well to show kids this great game (AND Canada’s official game to boot)  Im looking forward to seeing this great new facility as well, so join me at the opening of the Milton Indoor Turf Centre.

ALSO…keep in mind that at the Milton Sports Centre there will be an event with big screens showing our VERY OWN Travis Gerrits as he goes for gold at the Olympics. If you are going to that event, please wear RED AND WHITE to show your support.

Show your Support for Travis Gerrits!

Cheer on Milton’s own Travis Gerrits as he competes for gold in freestyle aerial skiing at Sochi. Catch all the action on three big screens in the lobby, gymnasium and Banquet Room of the Milton Sports Centre. A DJ will also be spinning tunes to get you into the spirit of the games!

Don’t miss this opportunity to support a hometown hero! Travis is scheduled to compete at the following times:

8:45 am: First round qualifier
9:30 am: Second round qualifier
12:30 pm: First round final
12:55 pm: Second round final
1:12 pm: Third round final

In celebration of Sochi 2014, various Olympic events will be screened between 10:00 am and 12:30 pm. Olympic-themed family games will also be available in the gymnasium from 10:15 am to 12:30 pm and 2:00 to 3:00 pm.

Update on Road Conditions in Milton

Over the past few days I have received a number of calls and emails about the road conditions in Milton due to the cold snap “Polar vortex” we have been experiencing.

Town of Milton staff have been working very hard to get the roads as clear as possible for traffic and in our neighbourhoods and we all appreciate your patience in this matter.

Here is a quick update we have received from our engineering staff:

Mayor and Members of Council,

Our efforts to keep all roads in a usable and safe state have been generally successful however, not to the normal visual standard everyone is used to at this point in time following the end of the precipitation event.

Salt stops being effective as an ice melter at approximately minus 10 degrees C. Air and pavement temperatures have remained consistently below minus 10 C since the flash freeze that occurred Sunday night.  This flash freeze was preceded by heavy rain, which prevented the pre-storm application of anti-icing liquid which would have stopped the ice from bonding to the asphalt surface of the roadways.  We are still working on removing this stubborn ice layer,  which is more of a nuisance while driving over it due to its rough nature, than a hazard as it does exhibit some degree of friction.  In addition to various snow removal operations, we had graders out last night working on the arterial, collector and Regional roads where this ice layer exists in an attempt to improve their condition prior to the morning rush hour. Winds causing blowing snow and streamers have also been a major factor during this time period that  the crews have had to deal with.

Temperatures are expected to rise in the next few days, starting today, with winds subsiding and prevalent sunshine, which will help alleviate the situation and aid our efforts.  We continue to ask that citizens drive with care and thank them for their understanding and cooperation as we continue to provide winter control services to the community.

According to the forecast, we should be heading into a period of “warmer” weather towards the weekend with temperatures in the plus range, which will go a long way to getting rid of the ice packs at the end of our driveways and improving the quality of the roads.  If there are any specific concerns you might have about the past few days and snow clearing, please feel free to email myself or engineering@milton.ca

I think we can all say that we are all looking forward to warmer weather coming up to give us a break from this cold, arctic weather. Thank you again for your patience.

Election Campaign Announcement

Earlier this morning I filed my nomination papers to run for the position of Local & Regional Councillor for wards 1,6,7 & 8.

This might come as no surprise to many as it’s been apparent that residents in our area have been under-represented during the last term.

I look forward to the campaign and meeting as many residents as possible and details on how you can support my campaign will be posted soon.  You can click on the Facebook link to the right and that will take you to a campaign page where you can comment, like and hopefully SHARE with all your friends and neighbours in Milton.

As resident of Milton for more than 10 years and the Local Councillor for Ward 6 since 2010, I have built a solid reputation as an active community member (United Way Milton, Milton Community Resource Centre) and an advocate for accountability and delivering efficient, cost-effective services.

I’m known for being engaged and accessible to residents and am seeking to represent Milton as the Local and Regional Councillor for Wards 1,6,7,8 to continue my tradition of open, transparent and accessible governance.

I am committed to protecting the taxpayer, building safe, strong and healthy neighbourhoods and engaging with my constituents to ensure that the needs and concerns of our growing community are well managed by Halton Region.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement in running for this position. There are so many challenges Milton faces in the upcoming years and it’s vital that we have strong leadership both at the local level and at the Region as well.

If you have any questions or if you would like to volunteer/donate to my campaign, please feel free to call or email me at mike@mikecluett.ca

I’ll see you at the doors.

New Years Eve in Milton

Please join Mayor Krantz, myself along with other town councillors at 1130PM-12:30AM on New Years Eve at Milton Town Hall for the Annual Bell ringing in Victoria Park.

For over 100 + years Miltonians have joined in at the midnight hour to ring in the upcoming year.  Its always a great time to be had by kids of all ages.  Rain or snow or cold weather doesn’t matter…we want to see you out there on New Years Eve.

Special guests arrive every year as a surprise, so be prepared!

I look forward to seeing you there around midnight so we can ring in 2014 together.