In Downtown Toronto, you might envision a priority courier as a cyclist in spandex, zipping around town, delivering documents from one office tower to another. Anywhere else, it’s likely a large company vehicle driving between locations and making quick stops to run packages to and from office parks.
There is another kind of priority courier service gaining in popularity though. It involves walking and taking transit to make pickups and deliveries.
Good Foot Delivery is one such service, but it’s also a social enterprise that provides employment opportunities for people living with developmental disabilities.
“We look at ourselves as both a charity and as a business,” explained Ryan Hollinrake, Executive Director of Good Foot. “The charity and business aspects of our organization run systematically together. One couldn’t exist without the other.”
As a charity, Good Foot is able to direct 100 per cent of the revenues it receives from customers towards employee wages. As a competitive business, it also needs to offer an attractive service to numerous clients.
While they began with a focus in the core of the City of Toronto, by working with Metrolinx, they have been able to expand their service area across the GTHA.
“Without GO, we wouldn’t be able to service customers in Oakville, Burlington, and Barrie, to name a few.” said Hollinrake.
Generally speaking, employees appreciate the option to take GO Transit. “Any time there is a GO route that makes the trip easier, we use it,” said Hollinrake. “Sometimes this means taking a GO Train, sometimes a GO Bus. Our employees actually love the bus.”
Even within the City of Toronto, employees have begun to combine GO trips with TTC trips to save travel time. “We have also utilized UP Express to go to Bloor or Weston stations in Toronto – it can shave off some travel time.”
In 2015, Metrolinx made a decision to support Good Foot’s charitable work by offering complimentary access to GO and UP services, lowering their operating costs and helping them to commit all revenue to employee wages. In return, Good Foot provides Metrolinx with reports from its employees, based on their experiences on transit.
While relatively pleased with the accessibility of GO and UP, some valuable information about some of the accessibility shortcomings on the Metrolinx network have also been shared, which helps to guide future decisions.
“Communication is something that Metrolinx generally does well, but sometimes, when it’s not done right, it can cause our employees big problems.”
Good Foot’s biggest suggestion for Metrolinx? “More frequent service!”
Something that’s already in the works and is bound to make sure deliveries are on time.