Raymond Lee, at the helm of his Pelham Transit bus. VOICE FILE

Pandemic sees drop in transport demand, increased safety concerns

Starting next week, both the Town of Pelham and the City of Welland will shift away from scheduled transit service and toward a reserved ride system.

Welland makes the change on Monday, April 13, and Pelham on Tuesday, April 14.

In Pelham, Dial-a-Ride service is available 7 AM – 7 PM, Monday through Saturday. Dial-a-Ride is a door-to-door transit service that picks up and drops off anywhere within Pelham boundaries and to the Seaway Mall/Niagara College in Welland.

The Town encourages residents to stay home, however, if riders need to get to medical appointments, places of employment, or the grocery store, Pelham Transit is available. All rides are to be booked with at least 48-hour notice. If booking a ride for Mondays or Tuesdays, riders are asked to book the Friday before.

Anyone in Pelham can use Dial-a-Ride. Rides will be booked on a “first come – first serve basis,” with priority given to individuals with disabilities or medical needs. Before requesting a ride, determine your pick-up and drop-off locations, along with the time frame of your trip and whether or not you will be requesting a return trip. All rides can be booked by calling Karen Blake at 905-892-2607 x347. Phone calls will be answered Monday through Friday 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM.

There is currently no charge for the service. As a result of COVID-19 precautions, Pelham Transit is asking that all riders have no interaction with the farebox. After COVID-19 precautions lift, regular transit rates will apply.

In Welland, a transit reservation system is being implemented to provide “essential”-only public transportation for City residents, according to a City news release.

The City will continue to operate Well-Trans service, and Regional transit service remains the same, including the Link with Port Colborne.

Welland’s reservation service will be provided from Monday to Friday, from 8 AM to 6 PM. Reservations have to be made 24 hours in advance by calling Welland Transit at 905-735-1700 x2291 from 8 AM to 3 PM. The City notes that this is not an on-demand same-day service.

Trips are restricted to medical appointments, employment, grocery stores (one visit per week). The service is free.