May 16, 2022 – After just one season of operating parking services and shuttle bus transportation in and around the village of Lion’s Head, the Lion’s Head Transit Authority (LHTA) has decided to suspend operations indefinitely.
Owner/operator Tim Matheson said of his decision to cease operations for this year, “As with any new endeavour, (and the LHTA is no exception), reputations and credibility were put at stake when we began the shuttle/parking service last year. In our case, this entails almost 40 years of good business, and the strong relationships and community spirit that we have engendered over that time. Therefore, to halt the operation after one year, while not a financially difficult decision, does not sit easily with me.”
In 2021, the LHTA provided paid parking for visitors to Lion’s Head, and with each parking pass, free shuttle service to points of interest and heads-of-trails. Walk-on passengers using the shuttle bus paid a nominal fee, except those under 5 or over 55 years of age who rode for free.
Matheson reported that the feedback LHTA received from both residents, and visitors to Lion’s Head was very positive.
“People loved the artwork on the bus, which was from an original painting by local artist Margarethe Vanderpas. Folks liked our logo, and helpful information on the bus, and were pleased with the demeanour and deportment of our staff. About 5,000 people rode the shuttle bus, the vast majority were folks who had parked their cars with us”
NO DEAL FOR 2022
When asked why the parking/shuttle service has decided not to run this year, Mr. Matheson cited the lack of a suitable arrangement with the Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula as the cause.
“As a first-year business, we did not manage to break even financially (which is OK), but we were still interested in continuing the operation of the LHTA in 2022 if we could tweak a few things.”
The Transit company held discussions with the Municipality during the off-season with several key proposals on the table. These were:
• LHTA would receive a tiered, per/vehicle fee for each car through the Parkpass platform instituted in 2021
• The bookings for parking, and administration of parking fees would be done by NBP
• LHTA would run a similar schedule and routes as in 2021… possibly adding a second, smaller shuttle on weekends and holidays
• LHTA would provide free shuttle service to anyone wishing to hop on or off
Lion’s Head Transit Authority was recently made aware of Council’s decision to decline this proposal.
Matheson expressed cautious interest in resurrecting the parking/shuttle business at some point in the future. “It would have to make financial sense for LHTA. Certainly a portion of municipal parking revenues would have to be earmarked for the purpose of running the shuttle service… if it is deemed to be of value to the community. Was the shuttle a good service for visitors? Did it help with conflict and traffic congestion? I guess this year will be a good comparison.”