At the April 9th session of Carleton Place Council’s Committee of the Whole, Marilyn Bird, Executive Director of Lanark Transportation (LT) provided an overview of her organization, its services, and clientele. She reminded council of how important it was to receive municipal and county support to help launch their much needed service in 2001. One of their first offices was provided by Carleton Place in the town hall’s basement at no charge. LT’s fleet of minivans and accessible vehicles provide transport to Lanark County and Smiths Falls residents for medical appointments, day programs, counseling services, job interviews and more. All residents can use LT’s services and fares charged are adjusted on a needs-assessed basis.
LT is funded from fare revenues (47.5% or $488K in 2017), and from provincial gas tax monies ($422K) and from grants from Lanark County $84.6K with a further $8.4K from Smiths Falls taxpayers. In 2017 they provided 21,326 trips to 1935 registered users travelling a distance in excess of 15 global circumferences (616K km).
Bird also updated council on a new initiative that began last year entitled ‘Ride the LT’. This service offers weekly trips to Perth and Carleton Place for Lanark Highland residents. Every Tuesday a shuttle runs to either community (on an alternating basis) and provides stops of varying lengths to popular shopping, dining and medical-care facilities before returning home. All of this costs passengers only $2. Preregistration by the preceding Monday morning is required. Bird noted that while the service isn’t yet used to its full capability, she would be continuing it for another year at least due to the time required to build awareness of the offering.
She brought good news to Carleton Place’s council by indicating LT is looking at offering a similar service based in town. No funding would be required but municipal staff help would be needed in public consultations and planning. Councilor Toby Randell asked how soon this could be up and running to which Bird replied as early as this summer. Mayor Doug Black expressed his enthusiasm about the proposal remarking that solutions such as LT was offering would help during the period of upcoming time when the central bridge will be out of commission for rebuilding. During committee meetings held earlier this year when the bridge work was being discussed, council members indicated a public shuttle would be a possible solution to help pedestrians navigate the community without the benefit of the bridge.