Tuesday, October 23, 200717 Comments
Having made this clear, it is with great disappointment but hopeless hopefulness that we write to you about the recent changes to the bus stop signs. Until quite recently, on each bus stop the times were posted clearly (example: 10/40) making it clear to everyone that the bus stops on 10 after and 20 to the hour. Now, instead of the times listed, you are told to call a number and the time will be read to you by a rather robotic computer voice.
It is unknown to us who decided that removing this perfectly logical method would be a positive step for Guelph Transit communicating to it's patrons, but we are here to sadly report that it is not.
To anyone who doesn't know the Guelph Transit system any better, the change might even be regarded as ageist. How, you ask? Well, for any children or senior citizens (for whom the cell phone culture has not as typically affected their age bracket) relying on public transit to get to and fro, will be quite difficult without knowing the bus times.
One might even go a step further and say it is rather classist, as anyone who doesn't have a cell phone is forced to either stand and wait or walk, attempt to find a pay phone, produce two quarters, wait for the voice and run back to the stop in the hopes that they have not missed the bus. Though a rebuttal might be that all information is available online, this again is under the presumption that all people have access to the internet.
An entire case could be made that Guelph Transit is being ableist by ignoring that citizens who are deaf have no way of verifying bus times. Anyone who has a physical constraint would be forced to venture and find a pay-phone, which could potentially cause major inconvenience and discomfort.
Is it not a serious safety concern? Should someone taking the bus alone at night be forced to stand in the dark and wait if they do not have a phone, or if their phone has died? What about visitors to the city? What about people who are bussing all around the city and don't have time or access to the transit website to preemptively research bus stop times? People take busses to get to all points in the city, including places they have never been.
No one should be made uncomfortable or caused any inconvenience for not owning a cell phone. People should be rewarded for taking public transit when so many choose the comforts of driving. Though we are disappointed in this choice, we are looking forward to hearing any positive changes that Guelph Transit has in mind.