Solution to Bus Woes Imminent

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Written by Gonzalo Moreno

If you’ve tried to catch a 52 on or near the University of late, chances are the bus was so packed that it passed you by. The image of a line of people being slowly covered in snow has become a staple of the stops at the UC and near Stone Road Mall. As for the Gordon Street 51, the delays are so bad that, last week, this reporter had enough time to do a round of groceries and still catch the bus while waiting on the stop outside of No Frills.

While complaints from students about these issues have literally been flooding the office of Bre Walt, the CSA’s Local Affairs Commissioner, the focus in the last few months has been on driver safety. After two assault incidents last year (none of which involved UoG students), the late night service to the University will resume on February 25, with cameras on the buses.

When Walt explained in her weekly column how the new camera policy had come to pass, discussion quickly turned to frequent student complaints about Guelph Transit service, specifically delays and packed buses.

With the complaints numbering in the “thousands” according to Walt, her bi-weekly report to the CSA’s Board of Directors last week stated that “Guelph Transit is proposing to City Council that they be given enough money, mid-budget, to add 45 hours of service per week,” with the objective of “alleviat[ing] problems with the 52, 55 and 51A route[s].”

Guelph Transit’s Department of Route Scheduling and Service Planning was not available for comment at the time of writing this article, but Guelph’s Mayor did have something to say about how City Council is dealing with these ongoing problems. Karen Farbridge confirmed to Thecannon.ca that “Transit Services are currently implementing changes to key University of Guelph routes increasing the frequency of service to address significant and growing ridership demand during peak hours.”

Farbridge also said that the 2007 budget, which was passed last week, will implement further changes to Guelph Transit. A new route will be created to service the city’s expanding south end, and buses will be running on statutory holidays starting on Canada Day 2007, all of which will happen without an increase in bus fares.

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