Free rural transit in Kawartha Lakes begins on April 30

White Lightning shopping bus will make stops in Lindsay, Woodville, Oakwood, Little Britain, Cameron, Long Beach, Fenelon Falls, Bobcaygeon, Dunsford, and Omemee

The White Lightning Shopping Bus in Little Britain during a test run in the summer of 2018. Bus owners Michael Bryant and Pauline Kiely are launching regular routes every Tuesday beginning April 30, 2019. (Photo: Danielle VanGennip)
The White Lightning Shopping Bus in Little Britain during a test run in the summer of 2018. Bus owners Michael Bryant and Pauline Kiely are launching regular routes every Tuesday beginning April 30, 2019. (Photo: Danielle VanGennip)

Free rural transit, operated and supported by local residents and businesses, begins next week in the City of Kawartha Lakes.

A 20-passenger modern shuttle bus, nicknamed “White Lightning”, will travel its first regular routes every Tuesday beginning on Tuesday, April 30th.

The weekly morning and afternoon routes will make stops in Lindsay, Woodville, Oakwood, Little Britain, Cameron, Long Beach, Fenelon Falls, Bobcaygeon, Dunsford, and Omemee.

“We have been having an incredible response so far and we haven’t even hit the road yet,” say bus owners Michael Bryant and Pauline Kiely of Little Britain. “We are thrilled by local demand and interest by local businesses. Given the response so far, we are getting ready to accommodate a lot of riders.”

The weekly shopping bus is a community-led service and is not associated with any municipality. Having a weekly shopping bus is part of the community-drafted “Rural Transit Plan for the City of Kawartha Lakes”, released in 2017 following a local transportation summit held in Fenelon Falls.

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“Safe, affordable public transportation is a key for residents and good for our local economy,” says Mike Perry, co-chair of the community-based Rural Transportation Working Group.

“I was in Seattle recently and they have a free shuttle for the downtown and waterfront. Businesses there have used the opportunity to increase their success. Transit is a public service and common good which also needs the sustainability of public funding.”

The City of Kawartha Lakes first launched a rural transit pilot project in July 2011 which included service to communities such as Coboconk in the northern part of the municipality. Due to low ridership and issues with meeting provincial legislation for accessibility, the city cancelled that project in September 2012.

In June 2013, the city launched a second rural transit pilot project, with a contract to Kawartha Ground Transport to operate the service until June 2015. That pilot project provided rides between Lindsay, Cameron, Fenelon Falls, Bobcaygeon, and Dunsford. In April 2015, City of Kawartha Lakes Council voted to end the pilot project, citing low ridership and the high cost of operating the program (just over $420,000 annually).

The White Lightning Shopping Bus in Bobcaygeon during a test run in the summer of 2018. The 20-passenger bus is fully accessible with professional drivers and features air conditioning, stereo music, and complimentary snacks.  (Photo: Danielle VanGennip)
The White Lightning Shopping Bus in Bobcaygeon during a test run in the summer of 2018. The 20-passenger bus is fully accessible with professional drivers and features air conditioning, stereo music, and complimentary snacks. (Photo: Danielle VanGennip)

Bryant conducted test runs of the White Lightning shopping bus in the summer of 2018. Based on the results of the test runs and after acquiring the necessary licenses, he decided to begin the weekly shopping bus on a regular basis.

The concept of the shopping bus is supported by the Bobcaygeon, Fenelon Falls, and Lindsay Chambers of Commerce. The first official sponsor of the bus is Miskin Law of Peterborough, which will use the bus for advertising.

The White Lightning Shopping Bus is fully accessible with professional drivers and features air conditioning, stereo music, and complimentary snacks. Retired broadcaster and meteorologist David Devall is the shopping shuttle’s goodwill ambassador.

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Bryant plans to expand the service, depending on ridership, demand, and advertising revenue.

The initial route schedule for the shopping bus is shown below. For up-to-date schedules, including pick-up and drop-off points, visit whitelightningbus.tours. You can also follow White Lightning Bus Tours on Facebook and Twitter.

Schedule

Free Rural Shopping Bus – Tuesday mornings

Departure Time Location Arrival Time Location Community
07:30am Terminal 08:00am Food Market Woodville
08:00am Food Market 08:15am Country Sampler Oakwood
08:20am Country Sampler 08:40am Foodland Little Britain
08:45am Foodland 09:00am Lindsay Mall Lindsay
09:05am Lindsay Mall 09:10am Ross Memorial Lindsay
09:15am Ross Memorial 09:25am Cameron GS Cameron
09:30am Cameron GS 09:35am Lakeview Cottages Long Beach
09:40am Lakeview Cottages 09:55am Sobeys Fenelon Falls
10:00am Sobeys 10:05am Big Apple Fenelon Falls
10:10am Big Apple 10:40am Lindsay Mall Lindsay
11:00am Lindsay Mall 11:05 am Ross Memorial Lindsay
11:10am Ross Memorial 11:40am Bigleys Bobcaygeon
11:45am Bigleys 11:50am Sienna Living Bobcaygeon
11:55am Sienna Living 12:00pm Strangs Bobcaygeon
12:05pm Strangs 12:20pm Mini Mart Dunsford
12:50pm Mini Mart 01:10pm Foodland Omemee
01:15pm Foodland 01:35pm Lindsay Square Lindsay
01:40pm Lindsay Square 01:45pm Ross Memorial Lindsay
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Free Rural Shopping Bus – Tuesday afternoons

Departure Time Location Arrival Time Location Community
2:00pm Ross Memorial 2:25pm Food Market Woodville
2:30pm Food Market 2:45pm Country Sampler Oakwood
2:50pm Country Sampler 3:00pm Foodland Little Britain
3:05pm Foodland 3:15pm Lindsay Mall Lindsay
3:20pm Lindsay Mall 3:25pm Ross Memorial Lindsay
3:30pm Ross Memorial 3:40pm Cameron GS Cameron
3:45pm Cameron GS 3:50pm Lakeview Cottages Long Beach
3:55pm Lakeview Cottages 4:10pm Sobeys Fenelon Falls
4:15pm Sobeys 4:20pm Big Apple Fenelon Falls
4:25pm Big Apple 4:45pm Lindsay Mall Lindsay
4:50pm Lindsay Mall 4:55pm Ross Memorial Lindsay
5:00pm Ross Memorial 5:40pm Bigleys Bobcaygeon
5:45pm Bigleys 5:50pm Sienna Living Bobcaygeon
5:55pm Sienna Living 6:00pm Strangs Bobcaygeon
6:05pm Strangs 6:20pm Mini Mart Dunsford
6:25pm Mini Mart 6:45pm Foodland Omemee
6:50pm Foodland 7:10pm Lindsay Square Lindsay
7:15pm Lindsay Square 7:20pm Ross Memorial Lindsay

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