The Rural Overland Utility Transit (TROUT) service has been in operation for 6 years. It was launched as an expansion of a ‘handi-bus’ service for seniors, which began in 1994. The expansion provided a broader public transit service for those within and around the town of Bancroft. TROUT provides service to 8 municipalities in the northern part of Hastings County and the eastern part of Haliburton County. TROUT offers a combined fixed route and specialized service as an efficient and effective model of operation for the area. There are 4 community buses, which all accommodate wheelchairs. Presently, TROUT operates three days per week offering service within a 3,200 square kilometer area. Ridership has grown from 5,000 rides in 2010 to over 9,000 rides in 2015.
During the first 5 years of operation the service was entirely owned and operated by Community Care North Hastings (a not-for-profit, charitable organization), including the purchase, maintenance and repair of its buses. In 2015-16 TROUT contracted the daily operation, maintenance and repair to a private school bus operator. This strategy has brought stability to the financial obligations of running a public transit service and is a positive factor in its long term sustainability.
TROUT Public Transit is an important part of the local infrastructure as an economic driver, an alternative form of mobility in an aging population, and a source of quality of life and independence for those who cannot drive or do not have a vehicle. While TROUT provides public transit for everyone in the community, 70% of its riders are older adults (55 years plus). For more information on TROUT, visit: http://catchthetrout.ca/.