Tillsonburg residents over the age of 80, or Indigenous adults 55-and-older who have booked a COVID-19 vaccination appointment will need transportation to Woodstock.
Southwestern Public Health announced last week that Goff Hall at the Woodstock Community Centre will be Oxford County’s first vaccination site starting the week of March 15. Those appointments filled up within a couple of hours. Bookings reopen March 15, 8 a.m., for appointments the week of March 22.
Among the reasons for selecting the Woodstock Goff Hall site, the health unit said it has access to public transit routes.
That is true for residents of Tillsonburg who can take the T:GO intercommunity bus service, which as of Monday morning offered three stops in Woodstock – the Woodstock ‘Route 5’ bus stop on Dundas Street, the Woodstock hospital, and the VIA Rail station.
A fourth T:GO bus stop may be added at 381 Finkle St., Woodstock to align with the new vaccination clinic.
After receiving emails, Carlos Reyes, Tillsonburg’s Director of Operations and Development, submitted a request to their transit provider, who would be looking into it as a temporary T:GO option.
“I’m just waiting to hear back from them,” said Reyes on Monday. “It seems likely to happen, but again, just waiting for confirmation that we can add a temporary stop at the (Woodstock) Community Centre.
“We’re looking into that, I had a phone call with them this morning. We’re just waiting for them to do an analysis, and they’ll get back to me whether it is possible or not, and what are all the options for us.”
If it happens, the Town of Tillsonburg will notify the public.
The 20-passenger T:GO bus, reduced to 10 intercommunity passengers during the pandemic, currently starts its Monday to Friday route at The Town Centre mall on Broadway at 6:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.
Passengers stop in Springford, Otterville, Norwich (twice), and Burgessville before arriving in Woodstock. It takes approximately 74 minutes to complete the trip to the Woodstock Transit terminal.
On its route heading north through Woodstock, the T:G0 intercommunity bus actually passes the Woodstock Community Centre (Goff Hall) on Finkle Street. So if a new bus stop introduced, it would shorten the overall time of the trip and eliminate the need for transfer busses.
If you take the later morning bus, arrival is 12:44 p.m. at Woodstock transit’s Route 5 terminal station. If you need to transfer, Route 5, departs the Dundas Street station at 1 p.m. It’s about a 15-minute ride south to the vaccination clinic (a vaccination appointment is required in advance).
The T:GO bus back to Tillsonburg leaves the Dundas Street terminal at 3:44 p.m., which means you have time get the vaccine, get back to Dundas on a Route 5 bus, and maybe do some downtown shopping. If you miss that bus, there is one last bus leaving Dundas at 6:11 p.m. (or VIA Rail station 6:20 p.m.).
If the new vaccination clinic bus stop is introduced, the trip will be approximately one hour to Woodstock, one hour back, with about three hours in between.
The early morning bus leaves Tillsonburg at 6:30 a.m., arrives at the Woodstock Dundas Street terminal at 7:44. The Route 5 Woodstock transit bus leaves at 8 a.m. and you’d be heading home at 11:44 a.m.
T:GO intercommunity bus fare to Woodstock is $10 cash (seniors/students $8), exact change only, and $8/10 home. Woodstock transit fares are $2.50, also exact change only. The round trip fare for seniors heading to Woodstock for vaccinations would be $21.
Another option to travel to the Woodstock vaccination clinic is the Tillsonburg Multi-Service Centre transportation service, which provides volunteer drivers to help clients get to medical appointments. A round trip to Woodstock is $45.
The service, which Tillsoburg residents need to book in advance, is appropriate if you can get into the car on your own or with minimal assistance. They are able to accommodate canes and walkers.
“We can do it, all based on availability,” said Chris Yancy, noting they are currently low on drivers due to the pandemic.
Call Yancy at 519-842-9008, ext. 275, to book a ride to Woodstock.
There are also two taxi companies in Tillsonburg that provide service to Woodstock.
Why Wait Taxi and Delivery Ltd. charges $75 for a trip to Woodstock, and $150 for a round trip back to Tillsonburg.
KTN Taxi and Delivery will charge $60 for a ride to the Woodstock clinic, $1 per minute wait while you get the vaccine, and $30 to get back to Tillsonburg.