A consultant says Thunder Bay Transit can increase the number of people who take the bus by more than a million riders, if it changes some routes and creates a more efficient bus system.

City councillors heard the details Monday night on how to expand the city's transit system, make it more efficient, and reduce the number of fare classes.

Implementing all of the ideas would have a capital cost of more than $8 million.

Dennis Fletcher, the consultant who wrote the plan, said the costs may not get passed onto the city, if more passengers take the bus.

"If those ridership increases didn't materialize in the two years after the implementation of the route plan, neither would the additional costs," he said.

Transit changes:

  • City will soon take over administrative roles for HAGI Transit
  • Fares for HAGI users and regular transit users will be the same, as of Jan. 1, 2013
  • The city will have to get a system to better manage the demand for transit, especially for those users with a disability
  • The plan says it can grow ridership to just over 5 million passengers a year in about 5 years, up from the 3.7 million now
  • Cost of implementing full plan is $8.2 million over five years in capital
  • Operating costs will require an outlay of $2 million over five years

The new transit master plan also recommends some minor changes to how much it costs to take the bus.

Fletcher said reducing how many different types of fares are available will make it easier for transit to provide more ways for riders to pay.

"It's kind of tinkering," Fletcher said. "We're not really recommending an increase in the overall fare."

Any changes to the city's transit system won't take place until September. But before that, city council will get another chance to review the plan in June.