Six Nations Public Works hosted an open-house presentation of the Six Nations of the Grand River transportation study on Thursday, March 9, 2023.
Dennis Kar and Stephanie Burnham of Dillon Consulting presented the preliminary findings to those in attendance at the Six Nations Community Hall, and to those joining on Facebook Live.
Kar started the presentation off by explaining that they launched the study to better understand the need and demand of transit within Six Nations, to engage with and to identify what is important to the community, as well as transit solutions and funding opportunities.
He explained that a transit system could help with equity by supporting independent living and providing access to jobs and health care, and he also mentioned the benefits for the economy and the environment.
Public Works and Dillon Consulting ran a community survey online and in-person between November 7 and December 18, 2022 and the survey received 810 valid responses.
There was outreach to schools and community events as well as one-on-one interviews with departments such as Public Works, Health Services, Six Nations of the Grand River Ontario Works and moe.
Dillon consulting found that 77 per cent of all respondents said they would likely use a transit system if it was available and 80 per cent of interviewees said that transit would support the services they provide.
Both survey results and interview results touched on whether respondents had vehicles or if they had difficulty completing a trip within the past six months and it looked at barriers like cost of taxi fees, gas prices, and car issues.
The survey found that people would use transit for both local trips within Six Nations and external trips outside of Six Nations and most people would use it for discretionary purposes that they didn’t need to do every day like grocery shopping or health appointments.
Desired locations, frequency of use and the importance of affordability, proximity, accessibility and safety were other findings discussed.
Burnham led a short discussion that allowed in-person attendees and online viewers a chance to ask questions and discuss the current findings presented so far.
Next, Kar took everyone through the preliminary recommendations for a potential transit system based off similar sized communities like Fort Erie, Cobourg, Port Colbourne, Tillsonburg and Port Hope. They investigated the span and frequency of service, service design such as routes and fares, as well as system performance.
Kar presented the advantages and disadvantages of the two main transit recommendations that Dillon Consulting came up with.
One would be a local on-demand service within Six Nations that would run daily with flexible routing and scheduling, and would run via an app or by calling in. The other would be an inter-community service that would run on a fixed route and schedule to both Brantford and Hamilton two to four times a week. This would help to connect people to other transit hubs with a variety of routes.
There were also initial options for carpooling programs, fixed routes for local service and subsidized taxi vouchers – however these ideas proved to be not as efficient.
Burnham led another discussion and question session, and attendees took the chance to inquire about safety, liability and gave suggestions for transit stops.
Dinner was served after the presentation and ran from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. before the Public Works and Dillon Consulting held a second presentation for those who could not make it to the first.
Now that the community has had an opportunity to share any questions and concerns, Public Works and Dillon Consulting will now adjust the plan based on feedback and work to develop an implementation plan before they complete the final report and present it to council.