The wheels on the bus go ‘round and round, and the routes they could follow in Prescott-Russell are now public.

At the Champlain council meeting on September 10, United Counties of Prescott and Russell (UCPR) Tourism and Economic Development Director Carole Lavigne discussed the proposed routes for the new inter-municipal transportation system, which is being branded as PR Transpo.

Lavigne explained to council the results of a survey indicating what the rate of usage for the new system could be and the reasons why residents would use it.  The findings of that survey were previously presented to UCPR council in the spring of 2019.

Presently, 12 routes are being proposed for PR Transpo that would operate on different days of the week.  In Champlain and Hawkesbury, three routes are being considered.  One of them would connect Hawkesbury with L’Orignal, Alfred, Plantagenet, and St-Isidore on Thursdays.  Three other routes would connect Vankleek Hill, Hawkesbury, St-Eugène, and St-Anne de Prescott on Tuesdays and Fridays.  The proposed routes follow a series of municipal, county, and provincial roads.

Lavigne provided a list of Route “J” which will link Vankleek Hill and Hawkesbury, which has nine potential stops along it.  Those include the arena in Vankleek Hill and several street intersections in town.  A stop is also being considered on Highway 34 at Pleasant Corners Road near the Champlain municipal office, and at the corner of Pattee Road and Eldemer Street before entering Hawkesbury near the Walmart and Independent supermarket on Highway 17.

The list of suggested stops has been left with Chief Administrative Officer Paula Knudsen.  Council will have the final decision on which stop locations are suitable in Champlain.

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation provided the UCPR with a $2 million grant to develop the new transit system.  It is also using $500,000 of the grant to allow Carefor, which already provides a limited local transportation service, to purchase an additional vehicle and hire another driver.

The UCPR was accepting requests for proposals for the operation of the new PR Transpo system until August 23.  The next step will be to select a transit operator and determine when the new service will begin.