Transit Plan and the Terminal

On Monday night, Council approved my request to start overhauling Barrie’s transit system.  Read more on this by clicking here.

I’ll post more as things move along.  But the short version is that I think we’ve outgrown our current model, and we need an all-new system.

Since we started running buses decades ago, Barrie has had a transit system based on a single downtown hub.  Barrie has now outgrown this system, and we need to look at new models that can allow more frequent and more convenient service to all parts of the City.

Developing a new model for transit will take time and extensive public consultation.  It will likely involve some changes to our bus fleet, which will also take time – ultimately, it is likely to be 2 years or more before we change over to a new system – if that is the direction Council chooses, and if the extensive planning process determines is desirable.

At the same time, there is also discussion of where intercity buses could operate from.  The return of GO rail to Barrie has changed commuting patterns and reduced demand for Barrie-Toronto bus service; there are other changes in service that may also present opportunities to shift intercity bus service to new locations.  Again, at this point this is just an idea – a lot of talking and a lot of planning would be required before any changes are made, and all of this has to be in close consultation with the service providers.

If a new model were to be developed that no longer requires a significant hub at the transit terminal (for example, a multi-hub model), it’s possible we will no longer need all of the ground floor of the building for transit related uses.  IF the changes to the bus system proceed, there exists the potential for the ground floor of the Terminal to become a market building, with full-time vendors, open all week. 

The conversion of the building is a potential outcome of the changes to Barrie’s transit system, which itself would occur only after extensive planning and consultation with all affected groups and with the public.  That’s the next step – start talking with everyone in and around the transit system and the bus business – about a new model for the future.

About jefflehman
Jeff Lehman is the 46th Mayor of the City of Barrie. The Ward 2 Councillor for the City of Barrie from 2006 to 2010, he was the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Council, chaired the City’s Growth Management Working Group, and created the Historic Neighbourhoods project, a new initiative to protect and revitalize Barrie’s oldest neighbourhoods. Jeff has lived in Barrie for most of his life, having grown up in Allandale and attended Barrie Central Collegiate. Jeff holds a B.A. from Queen’s University, and a Master’s Degree with first class honours from the UK’s prestigious London School of Economics. He was hired to teach at the LSE following his graduation, and lived and worked in London for two years as an academic. Since that time, as an economist, he has worked with cities across Canada to manage redevelopment and invest in their urban infrastructure. In 2005, he established the Growing By Degrees Task Force to assist in expanding university education opportunities in Barrie, and has volunteered his time with many organizations in the City. Jeff lives near Downtown Barrie with his wife, Jennifer, a part-time professor of political science, and their young daughter Cassie, who is already smarter than her father.


9 Responses to “Transit Plan and the Terminal”
  1. Stephen Riddell says:

    I believe we still need a bus depot downtown for the large senior population that is downtown. Since the GO train is only early morning or late evening and not during the day, when seniors need transportation to Toronto, going north. or any where else at any other time. Keep Greyhound, Northern and a Barrie city bus (to connect with the city). The busses have better available times to leave and return to Barrie. The same busses offer freight service for the downtown businesses also. The bus fares are better then GO train. Downtown seniors want to walk to get their transportation (mass transit: bus depot) and not use fossil fuels. Use the northern half of the current bus depot for the above and convert the southern half for a farmers market. Convert the southern outdoor bus lanes to enclosed farmer market stalls, that allow the walls to open fully during good weather to let light (view the bay) and fresh air in and can be closed during bad weather (also allow winter use) and at night as a security barrier.

  2. Skip Chenard says:


    Met with you prior to being elected to your office. What was discussed then is reflected in your memorandum. Being a transit driver myself I am definately interested in how these proposed changes effect drivers and passengers alike. Look forward to any “open” meetings that might be held down the road.

  3. Greg Crossman says:

    Congrats Jeff about being approved to start the MUCH needed and LOOOONG overdue Transit overhaul! I’ve have been waiting to hear this news for years. I did a little happy dance when you got the go ahead. But due to the fact that the buses are a pain to ride around on after 7 pm, cause of the evening service, I watched the council meeting live on TV. Wish I could have been there, for I also wanted to support the proposed wind turbine at the landfill, and Mr. Brassard’s proposal for the skating rinks on the bay.

  4. Mary McCulloch says:

    Congrats for the long overdue Transit Overhaul. As one of your many Transit Operators this is wonderful news.
    I have been here for 24 years and very little changes. The City has grown from a Town of 26,000 when I came, to live here. It’s time to act like a big City not the small town of 26, 000. People stll have to get to work early on Sat morning and Sun. morning and once an hour on Sun doesn’t work for most. We are off the road before the bars close. I do hope that some of your proposed changes include discussions with the Transit operators as well. I can only remember three times the City asking for input from the Operatos, Yet, we are the Front runners and are representing the City for new comers to our City.
    The City should have kept the old Terminal that was across the street, just for the coaches and had a walkway to the Maple Street Terminal, for Transit. Also during bad weather when Transit is running late their are no announcements for Transit only coaches. .

  5. Jen says:

    Perhaps we can look at light rail and hybrid buses, we need to ensure that this expansion will not increase our Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The earlier the better to start implementing these changes as our population will only continue to increase. We dont want to play catch up years down the road.
    Look at Vancouver for example, they have a great system.

  6. John Paddin says:

    Although I have read that hybrid technology pertaining to city transit buses is still a little sketchy on claims on fuel savings , the other downfall is cost. Some estimates are almost double per unit. If this is not a possibility (as Barrie IS going for the green), the other route would be smaller buses that better represent ridership in this city.Next time you see a city bus take a look. Nine times out of ten there is barely anyone on them. We are using buses that are outdated and this should have been fixed years ago. Buses that are in service and the size that cities twice as big use makes no sense whatsoever. After costing out what Barrie needs we would have been much better to put the Transit Project (and its Action Plan percentage) in front of an oversized, un-needed and misplaced Firehall that many are not happy about. No more Legacy buildings like the FireHalls. Lets focus on Industry (jobs).

    By the way London had a zero percent tax increase this year and even did some cost cutting. Bradford Street in Barrie? Very embarassing. What is Barries vision for that? Go take a look if you haven’t been down there lately then email your local council member and voice your disgust.

    • Stephen D says:

      I do not agree with you.

      Barrie is going through growth. It would be a complete waste to improve a transit system in regards to accessibility and service, and then make the buses smaller. Chances are, if the system is going to be improved, there will be more riders. Furthermore, the city’s population is growing rapidly, and you think making smaller buses would be more costly to account for todays ridership numbers? We see the same mistakes repeatedly in Barrie. Nobody accounts for growth. The library downtown is too small, RVH was too small, the downtown theatre at the Five Points being built is too small. The reason we are building a new fire hall right now is because nobody accounted for growth and the original was made TOO SMALL.

  7. Pete Hickey says:

    I lived in Barrie from 1987 – 2005. I came across this blog by accident, but am thrilled to see that someone is looking into this! As a teen it was faster for me to ride my bicycle to my destination than it was to take the bus; taking the bus as a young adult was never a consideration, as buying a car made much more sense.

    Kudos for moving forward on this initiative; forward-thinking like this makes me consider moving back to Barrie!

  8. Stephen D says:

    Excited to see a changing and upgrading of our transit system!!

    I only ask one thing. I don’t mind the main bus terminal being downtown, or relocated, but please, for the love of God change the colour of that green roof! A nice copper-brown would look one hundred times better. I am telling you from a design stand point, that ugly green roof repels people from wanting to visit that building.


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