MUSKOKA - In its first week of operation Hammond’s Corridor 11 bus service had 20 riders.
For the pilot project to be considered a success, coordinator Deb Smaldon-Plaskitt said they would like to see 20 passengers per day.
“Day 1 was pretty dead,” she said. “Just one or two people.”
But as the week wore on, more riders showed up. By Friday people were booking in advance.
“We are encouraging people to do that,” said Smaldon-Plaskitt.
The new project is having some growing pains, one being construction along the route. A single bus travels the route from Huntsville to Barrie twice daily and any delays are compounded throughout the day.
The coordinator said construction delays are an example of something the company is going to have to make adjustments for as the pilot continues.
For now she suggests people call her at 705-645-2583 on the day of travel to see if there are any delays.
While ridership was low this first week, she fielded hundreds of phone calls.
“We’ve had huge response,” she said. “The bus is running and we’re having really good success; there’s a lot of word of mouth.”
Already students at Georgian College and people going to Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital and Royal Victoria Hospital for appointments are using the service.
“They’re liking it,” she said.
The company also plans to get Corridor 11 signs for inside the windows of the bus so that it’s more recognizable.
“Once we get our signage it will make people think about it a little bit more,” said Smaldon-Plaskitt.
An area of need for riders that has been identified in this first week is people wanting to board at one school or hospital and travel to the school or hospital in the next community. But Hammond isn’t able to accommodate those riders. Due to an agreement with another bus company already in the area, Getaway, the coordinator said they cannot allow people to travel just between Orillia and Barrie.
To accommodate the many people calling and wanting that service, she said the college or the hospital would have to charter a bus and offer it themselves.
For schedules and information visit www.corridor11bus.ca.