It will soon be possible for people to travel by bus across a big chunk of Simcoe County.

Simcoe County council gave the go-ahead on Tuesday night to a new regional transit system. It’s a move that is expected to help hundreds of people.

“Gets people to and from jobs, to and from medical appointments,” says Debbie Korolnek, County of Simcoe engineering and planning. “So anticipate it will be a popular service.”

The plan is to build the system in phases over the next four years. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Year one – Begin the Midland to Barrie route
  • Year two – Add the Barrie to Orillia route, and assume responsibility for three existing inter-municipal routes: Barrie - Angus, Midland - Penetanguishene and Collingwood - Wasaga Beach
  • Year three – Add Collingwood - Barrie
  • Year four – Add Alliston – Bradford and Midland – Orillia

The county would likely hire a contractor to operate the system and pay for it with a mix of county tax dollars, gas tax money, and fare revenue. The bus ride between towns would cost about $7 a trip.

Right now the plan is for buses to run 12 hours a day, Monday to Friday. However, the entire plan is subject to changes as the proposal goes through the county's budget process in November.