Hitch a ride with the LINX transit service and you’ve got Simcoe County covered.

The new county bus service, which officially launched Aug. 7 and is part of a five-year rollout, will help make travelling between municipalities a lot simpler for local residents.

The first route, which is free to riders from Aug. 7 to Sept. 4,  will see buses run north and south from Penetanguishene/Midland to Barrie, with stops in Wyebridge, Waverly, Elmvale and Midhurst. New routes planned to be added between 2019-2021 include Orillia to Barrie, Collingwood to Barrie, Alliston to Bradford West Gwillimbury and Midland to Orillia.

“We’re officially in the transit business and we’re pleased to offer another crucial public service to our residents and communities,” said Simcoe County Warden Gerry Marshall, in a news release. “Route one is just the first stop on an ambitious plan to link our municipalities across the region and connect residents to health services, jobs, education centres and retail hubs in other communities.”

The LINX rolls out on Monday to Friday, with southbound trips leaving every hour starting at 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., when the last bus leaves. There is no service Saturdays, Sundays or on statutory holidays. Regular fares, which kick in after Labour Day, will range from $2 to $6. Transit fares can be paid with cash or a reloadable LINX Card.

The county is also offering LINX+, accessible door-to-door transit service for individuals with mobility needs. That will launch on Sept. 4. Residents are asked to complete a registration form to access the LINX+ service by visiting linx.simcoe.ca or by calling 1-800-263-3199.

The LINX transit service is part of a $5-million plan by the County of Simcoe to develop a regional transit system. The Government of Ontario also stepped up with an additional $8.4 million in funding for the service. The four 30-foot buses are each equipped with seating up to 24 passengers, plus room for eight standing passengers and two wheelchairs. The two LINX+ buses will have seating for up to seven passengers, including three wheelchairs. All the buses are also equipped with GPS-based, vehicle-location systems, automated-stop announcements, smart-card fare systems and CCTV cameras.

Photo: Travelling between local municipalities will be a lot easier with the new Simcoe County LINX transit service. Simcoe County photo

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