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  • Success Story
  • Leamington, Ontario

Leamington Drives Public Engagement for New Transit System


Leamington, Ontario, used public input to help restructure a traditional public transit system into a modern, on-demand ridership experience.

“The goal was to create a transit system people wanted to use and found beneficial. To do that, we needed input from riders and, just as importantly, people who were not using the existing system.”
Kelly Sfetkidis, Manager of Communications and Public Relations, Municipality of Leamington


  • 275% increase in ridership in its first year
  • Expanded public transit service area
  • Enhanced transit schedule based on ridership needs
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Transit in Need of Transition

Since 1985, Leamington, Ontario, has offered residents a bus service that, at its peak, made 64 stops around town on a one-hour loop. As the system neared its fourth decade of operation, municipal administration explored options to restructure the underutilized service.

In 2021, a proposal came forward to offer citizens an Uber-like experience where they could request transit rides on demand. With that came additional improvements of longer hours, faster and more timely service, and shorter routes.

“The goal was to create a transit system that people wanted to use and found beneficial,” said Kelly Sfetkidis, Leamington communications and public relations manager. “To do that, we needed input from riders and, just as importantly, people who were not using the existing system.”


The Magic Municipal Bus

LTGO launched in May of 2022.

The on-demand service started with 118 transit stops and has increased to 126, expanding the operating area in Leamington and making it more convenient to use public transit. The service has also expanded its hours to include Sundays throughout the summer and extended hours during special events.

Better yet, this new service can be requested from anywhere in the expanded urban area of Leamington, allowing riders to travel from point to point without transfers.

The on-demand transit program allows residents to book a trip through an app or website, or by calling the customer service office, with payments made on the vehicle or through the app. The new transit buses also have Wi-Fi for users, charging ports for devices at every seat, and are fully accessible for all riders.

The municipality turned to Let’s Talk Leamington, its engagement portal, to conduct surveys and interact with residents. Built on EngagementHQ by Granicus, Let’s Talk Leamington offered an open space for citizens to provide input into the new offering.

“Not only do more people use the system, but it is more efficient,” Sfetkidis said, adding that the municipality has seen an increase in ridership of more than 275% in its first year, when compared to the previous fixed route system.

The municipality also added a map that allowed citizens to show where they would like transit stops throughout the municipality.


Sea Change: A Rejuvenated System

Nearly 100 residents have already requested additional transit locations. The municipality uses that information to place additional stops where feasible.

In 2022, Leamington organically shared campaigns on multiple social media channels and through boosted paid advertising, sent out press releases, produced printed pamphlets, produced radio and newspaper promotions, shared messaging on LED screens throughout the municipality, and through Let’s Talk Leamington.

By engaging citizens in creating this new structure, Leamington increased ridership due to the convenience of pre-booking rides, shorter ride times, and an expanded service area. It also created a flexible transit schedule built around ridership needs.

With the program off the ground, the marketing team has shifted to secondary campaigns to further fuel ridership.

Leamington enhanced its public transit services for the summer, offering extended transit hours to ensure residents can travel conveniently and safely to and from various summer events.

Additionally, in a move to encourage the younger generation’s engagement with public transportation, Leamington provided free transit rides to Grade 8 students within the municipality during the March break. This initiative aimed to increase the familiarity of Leamington’s youth with the public transit system, supporting their transition to independent travel.

Moreover, the municipality also offered a special Free Transit Day for seniors, further demonstrating its commitment to accessible and inclusive public transportation for all community members.

The Municipality of Leamington is a recipient of the 2023 Granicus Digital Government Customer Experience Award for its efforts with LTGO on-demand transit.