Staff Report #5
April 29, 2020
To All Commissioners
Re: 2020 Service Plan – Specialized Transit
That the Commission APPROVE the deferral of the 2020 Specialized Transit Service Plan for consideration in 2021.
At the August 28, 2019 meeting, the Commission approved the multi-year budget submission, which included the addition of approximately 6,000 annualized hours to the specialized service. Unlike the conventional service which requires schedules, timetables and Operator sign-ups, the specialized service changes only require notification to the contractor to add vehicles to the fleet at the times of day/day of week where service is most in demand.
The increased service hours associated with the 2020 Specialized Transit Service Plan would have been allocated beginning in the fall of 2020. These additional hours were proposed to be funded with assessment growth, noting a business case for same was submitted as part of the multi-year budget submission. Recommendations with respect to the use of assessment growth in 2020 have not been brought before Municipal Council at this time, noting that civic administration has recommended that only urgent essential growth requests be considered in 2020, and that these funds may then be utilized to mitigate financial impacts relating to COVID-19. Given the uncertainties with respect to how and when ridership will rebound subsequent to the emergency orders being lifted, the service improvements included in the 2020 Service Plan are not considered urgent nor essential at this time.
The report recommendation to defer the 2020 Specialized Transit Service Plan for consideration in 2021 is supported by a number of factors, including the following:
- Current uncertainty with respect to when the Provincial emergency declarations may be loosened, noting the provisions in place have significantly impacted ridership levels;
- Financial status of the City of London as well as the Commission, noting there are currently no funding options available to address the budget shortfalls associated with the move to rear door boarding and resultant deferral of fare collection; and
- Uncertainty with respect to the level and extent that ridership will rebound subsequent to the pandemic period.
Should the report recommendation be approved, the 2021 Service Plan the specialized service would be tabled for consideration by the Commission at the January 2021 meeting.
Kelly S. Paleczny, General Manager