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RFD- 3306 Public Delegations   Item #   5. a.    
Regular Council Meeting Agenda
Meeting Date: 05/14/2018  
Title:    Tri-Municipal Regional Transit Plan - Levasseur
Department: Planning & Infrastructure  
Strategic Vision Element: Where People Choose to Live - A dynamic city with an exceptional quality of life Related Goal: Spruce Grove is an easy and convenient City to get around in, with a high degree of ease of mobility for transportation, walkability and connectivity.

Information
Request for Decision Summary
 
The City of Spruce Grove together with its regional partners, the Town of Stony Plain and Parkland County, have completed a comprehensive Regional Transit Plan and the Inter-Municipal Collaboration Committee - Transit sub-committee Report on the feasibility of forming a joint organizational structure to manage and operate transit services in the Tri-Region. The regional transit plan was developed with regional transit routes being implemented in a phased approach and to consolidate resources and operations for Handi Bus and Specialized transit into one operation, as part of an integrated transit operation. The recommendation of the sub committee is to develop a working agreement with our Tri-Region partners to further develop the business case for the formation of a regional commission, with specific details on operations, management, governance and cost sharing. The completed business case would be presented to each of the Tri-region council's for approval. 
Proposed Motion
That the Regional Transit Plan and the inter-Municipal Collaboration Committee - Transit Subcommittee reports be received as information;

and

that Administration be directed to work with our regional partners under a Memorandum of Agreement to form an implementation committee for the establishment of regional transit in the Tri-Municipal Region and bring back findings to Council for consideration.
 
Background/Analysis
The Tri-Municipal Regional Transit Plan seeks to deliver a unified vision for future transit service and its supporting infrastructure and strategies for the City of Spruce Grove, the Town of Stony Plain and Parkland County, Alberta (the “Tri-Municipal Region”). Developed by Watt Consulting Group in collaboration with these municipalities, the Regional Transit Plan encompasses all forms of transit in the local communities, as well as connections to the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.
Transit in the Tri-Municipal Region currently consists of a number of different services:
  • Conventional Transit providing scheduled weekday commuter service on routes between Spruce Grove, Acheson and Edmonton operated through contract with the Edmonton Transit System (ETS) and funded by the City of Spruce Grove and Parkland County.
  • Acheson Shuttle providing demand responsive connection between ETS services and employer locations in the Acheson area, operated by Southland Transportation and funded by a utility fee imposed by Parkland County.
  • Spruce Grove Specialized Transit Service (STS) providing local and regional door-to-door service for people with a disability and seniors living in Spruce Grove and select areas of Parkland County, operated by the Spruce Grove Specialized Transit Society and funded by the City of Spruce Grove and Parkland County.
  • Stony Plain HandiBus providing local and regional door-to-door service for people with a disability and seniors living in Stony Plain, funded and operated by the Town of Stony Plain.
Proposed Service Improvements and Long-Term Network Strategy
Building from the identified issues and opportunities and overarching community plans, a long-term network strategy and layers of transit service are proposed for the Tri-Municipal Region.
This strategy defines the most important transit corridors for future development and road network improvement decisions to reinforce the corridors.  Similarly, by describing service and corridors in terms of layers and the long term vision, the reason why different levels of investment may be applied to some areas over others is highlighted.
The strategy is complemented by supporting measures (infrastructure, vehicles, passenger information, fares, etc.) and service options shown in the attached report.
Inter-municipal Collaboration Committee created a subcommittee on transit. This subcommittee had the following goal, objectives, and scope for the report.

Goal: The establishment of a framework for a regional transit system in the Tri-Region.

 
Objectives Expected Benefits
Commitment to partnership in transit Shared investment, shared benefit
Governance Model Clearly defined accountabilities
Needs and benefits Full understanding of tri-region transit in order to make informed decisions
Service Delivery Model Recommendation to implement the transition
 
Scope: Seamless, boundary-less, unified public transportation that addresses public transportation needs including commuter, local and specialized transit. All public transportation needs of the region and the desire lines of public travel are considered with the intention to deliver service in the most effective manner.
The report included a determination of:
  • governance model
  • funding model
  • service delivery model
  • roles and responsibilities

The subcommittee prepared the following recommendations:

GOVERNANCE: The ICC Transit subcommittee have reviewed the options for transit governance in the Tri-municipal region. A formal established governing body and less formal agreement option were compared. Evaluation criteria weighted to align with the perceived values of the member municipalities, concluded that a Regional Services Commission is the best long term option. The Commission option will require a greater amount of work and will take longer to implement, but is the recommended choice.

SERVICE DELIVERY: A committee should be formed to implement the steps required to form a partnership able to deliver the service as desired by the Tri-Region. The committee can prepare a business case to confirm the most cost effective method of service delivery, accepting that conditions may change in the near future. The desired service delivery model is a public sector operation.

COST SHARING: For Specialized Transit/Handibus service, the net costs should be allocated by active client home address to start, with ridership considered in the future.
For the existing commuter service provided by Routes 560 and 562, the home address of the ridership will be used to allocate the proportions for net costs. This ridership figure will be based on surveys completed on both routes. However, the Acheson service will continue to be allocated by service hours and will be paid by benefiting service area, through a public transportation utility fee.

For new service introduced within Tri-Region, the proportion of service hours in each municipality will be applied to the net operating costs. As the service stabilizes, ridership can be considered to validate the cost share. Revenue will be allocated to each partner based on passenger activity.
Options/Alternatives
Both the Tri-Municipal Regional Transit Plan and the Tri-Municipal Region Collaboration Committee - Transit Report provides a number of operational options, governance models and funding proposals. The work of the implementation committee will be to further refine these points in the form of a business case.
Consultation/Engagement
The Tri-Municipal Transit Plan facilitated by Watt Consulting, included considerable consultation with both Handi Bus and STS both riding the service and talking to users. Rides were also taken on all of the commuter routes with discussions with riders and transit drivers. Two sessions were also facilitated with key internal and external stakeholders, including the STS Board Chair and office manager; Stony Plain’s Handi Bus Manager, and several representatives from Edmonton Transit including the Regional Transit Coordinator. Members of the Enoch First Nation have been included in discussions in the regional transit plan and in the consultation meetings. 
Implementation/Communication
The next phase of work will include the formation of a Tri-Municipal Implementation Committee, that will further define terms and considerations for governance, financial and operational organization to create a regional based transit operation. 
Impacts
With acceptance of the recommendations of the Inter-municipal Collaboration Committee transit in the region would be fully integrated with each municipality having a voice in operation and management of transit, greater opportunities for transit funding as a larger body and cooperative funding by the municipalities and better economies of scale for transit operation across the Tri-Region. 
Attachments
Tri-Region Transit Report
ICC Transit Report

City Council and Committee of the Whole agendas and minutes are posted on the City of Spruce Grove website for information purposes only. These agendas may be changed at the discretion of Council by the addition or deletion of items. Anyone reviewing the draft agenda should do so on the understanding that it is subject to change by Council.

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