Ride CK Bus. (Photo via Ride CK)Ride CK Bus. (Photo via Ride CK)

UPDATE: CK Beach Bus makes a come back

Chatham-Kent Council has voted to relaunch the Beach Bus on a trial basis.

Council approved option 3, which will have the bus running one Saturday per month in June, July, and August to determine if the service is still feasible. If it's deemed not practical or cost effective at the end of the three months because of low ridership, the Beach Bus service between Erieau and Mitchell's Bay will be terminated.

Original article was published on May 24, 2024


Chatham-Kent Council is being informed about how much it would cost to bring back the Beach Bus.

Ward 2 Councillor Anthony Ceccacci recently asked for the report so that Council could be updated with the most current, updated, and accurate information.

Chatham-Kent Manager of Transportation Jeff Hagan said there are renewed calls to return the Beach Bus (Route S1) to its glory days.

"Since the elimination of Route S1, staff and members of Council have occasionally received requests for reinstatement of the route in some form. Most recently, the Erieau Community Association has submitted a request through Councillor Ceccacci for service on one Saturday a month during June, July, and August," wrote Hagan in his report going to Council Monday night.

Monday night's Council meeting will be held at the John D. Bradley Convention Centre in Chatham due to a larger than expected public turnout. The meeting will start at 6 p.m. and will take place in the grand ballroom.

Hagan said there are three options to re-introduce the Beach Bus.

- Option 1: Service on Monday to Saturday plus statutory holidays, Victoria Day to Labour Day at a cost of nearly $86,000

- Option 2: Service on Saturdays plus statutory holidays and the Sundays of long weekends, Victoria Day to Labour Day at a cost of just over $21,000

- Option 3: The Erieau Community Association recent proposal of one Saturday per month in June, July, and August at a cost of almost $2,600

The Beach Bus was established in 2010 and provided service to Erieau and Mitchell's Bay, but it was discontinued in 2020 because of low ridership due to the COVID-19 pandemic and associated closures of beaches and tourism-oriented businesses.

It went from the Downtown Chatham Transit Terminal with stops in Blenheim, Charing Cross, St. Clair College Chatham Campus, Pain Court, and Grande Pointe.

Council approved reinstating the route in 2021 with limited service on Saturdays and statutory holidays and Sundays on long weekends between Victoria Day and Labour Day. The Beach Bus was not renewed for 2022 and has not operated since.

Hagan also said staff are currently working on the Municipality’s Transit Asset Management Plan which will be presented to Council this summer and are scheduled to initiate a Transportation Mobility Master Plan this year to prioritize transportation and mobility infrastructure, programs, and policies. He recommends that staff continue that work to "better characterize the status of transit services and undertake consultation on transit service and planning as part of the broader review to inform future decisions regarding transit service levels and routes."

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