Provincial transportation funding ‘good news’ for Ride Well: Linton

WELLINGTON COUNTY – The announcement of a two-year extension of the province’s Community Transportation Grant program is good news for users of Wellington County’s Ride Well program.

The Ontario government announced on June 28 it is extending funding of up to $14 million over two years for communities providing transportation services in unserved and underserved regions across Ontario through the program.

In October of 2019, the county launched the Ride Well ride-sharing service as a five-year, pilot project, using funds from a Community Transportation Grant of just under $500,000 covering the period between 2018 and 2023.

The county’s share of the new funding, $242,514, covers 2023 to 2025.

The province says the additional $14 million in funding will help ensure 38 communities across the province have additional time to fully establish their transportation services as they recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and build transportation services up to a sustainable level.

“This will better position municipalities to continue operating after the program has completed,” states a press release from the province.

“The Community Transportation Grant program is making life easier for people living in areas with few public transportation options,” said Minister of Transportation Caroline Mulroney.

“The additional investment in local and inter-community transportation services will help residents – including Indigenous people, seniors and people with disabilities – get to work, school or appointments and will give communities added security as they recover from the impacts of COVID-19 and plan for the future.”

Wellington County warden Kelly Linton said the funding announcement is “really good news” for Ride Well.

“The county has received some very positive feedback from customers who have used our innovative ride sharing program,” Linton stated in an email.

“Coming out of COVID, we are excited about building some momentum across the county for Ride Well and this is new funding from the Ontario government provides an opportunity to build on our early success.”