Bracebridge council is curious about whether ridership levels on the Santa’s Village trolley can be tracked for future transportation planning.
Deputy Mayor Rick Maloney made the suggestion during a council meeting on Wednesday, June 27, when councillors were discussing the expanded trolley service being offered to locals this summer. Maloney said tracking ridership data could come in useful for any transportation planning by the town in the future.
Operated by the theme park in the summer months, the trolley is the only source of free public transportation in Bracebridge.
“It would be a great opportunity for us to maybe look at how we might be able to capture some of the ridership data that might come out of trolley ridership over the next several months as an opportunity to give some consideration to the potential for enhanced services, whatever that may look like in the future,” he said. “An opportunity presents itself maybe to draw some of that data through that ridership over this period, as a way to use that information for whatever reasons down the road, as we perhaps look at other regular schedules of transportation for residents.”
Santa’s Village general manager Jamie Hopkins said the theme park doesn’t intricately track how many people use the trolley to get around.
“For the most part, it’s just used generally for people to move around town, and we haven’t been tracking data,” he said. “It is a free service, and as such we don’t have the collection of revenue to be able to help determine what the ridership is by doing the financial math.”
Hopkins said the park usually works with the trolley’s drivers, area businesses and area organizations to help plan changes to the service’s route. This year, the route was expanded to pick up residents from the Oakwood Heights area, the Zellers and Walmart stores, and areas in between.
“We’ve been receiving a number of requests from people that were hopeful we could expand the trolley route to be able to service them, whether they’re residents or businesses hopeful we can bring people to them,” said Hopkins. “We felt that its highest and best use was to try and provide service to the people in town, and accordingly the tourists that are around in the summer will certainly see it and take advantage of it too.”
In the meantime, Bracebridge CAO John Sisson said town staff will follow up with the theme park on the issue of ridership tracking.