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Guelph Transit thinks busses are too convenient

Very recently i have come to a shocking conclusion about Guelph’s supposedly acclaimed transit system. As a pre-cursor to this whole rant, I would just like to state that these are my own experiences, however, they are mirrored by others that I know. It would appear, to the majority of people I know, that Guelph Transit thinks their transit system is too convenient for the general public, and thus have gone out of their way to inconvenience passengers.

As can be seen on the Guelph Transit Website:

Beginning September 2, 2007, Guelph Transit changes its scheduled 30 minute service to 40 minute service, Monday to Friday during peak hours on all regular base routes*.

The asterisk refers to this bit of text:

* Regular base routes: 1 Woodlawn; 3 Waterloo/Fife; 4 York Road;
6 Auden/Eastview; 7 St. Joseph’s; 8 General Hospital; 9 Stone Rd. Mall;
10 College/Niska; 22 Conestoga; 23 Paisley/Imperial; 24 Industrial; 51 Gordon;
52 University/Kortright; 61 Victor Davis

So, pretty much all the routes, except for the university have been affected. Their reasoning for changing the amount of time between runs, I can only speculate on, however I have come to the conclusion that they did so for several reasons:

  1. They obviously could not make the routes work in the 30 minutes alloted, as they were notoriously 10 minutes late always. Which would make a 10 minute delay in the routes seem somewhat feasable.
  2. They apparently have this philosophy that all busses must wait in the downtown square, until the last bus has arrived before they can all go.
  3. The planners at Guelph Transit are actually monkeys kept in cages.

Now, I may appear to be being harsh here, but I assure you, after this past week on the “new” schedule, I do not believe my arguments are unjustified. Firstly, on my route (the #3 Waterloo/Fife), there are always, and I repeat, Always, two busses that tail each other around the route. Thats great and all, if the route were actually busy enough to warrant it, very often, each bus is at far less than capacity, with numerous seats available. So, why is it, then that they would not just split those two busses up into two 20 minute runs instead of 1 40 minute run? To me, that would seem to make sense, as well as be more convenient. This brings me back to point #3 above, the planners at Guelph Transit are monkeys.

I’m not one to normally complain, or even label people, but I would also like to point out, that if you are going to change the bus schedule during peak times, when people need busses the most, you should at the very least, out of common courtesy for your customers, STICK TO THE SCHEDULE! Or at least provide accurate tools for us to check when the next bus will come. And now, its story time…

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So, I get up this morning, didn’t sleep very well last night (but thats a totally different story), do the usual, shower, pack my lunch, watch a bit of BT. Then I hop on Guelph’s “revolutionary” next-bus system, so I can see what time the next bus will come. Sweet, next bus arrives in 8 minutes. It takes 5 minutes to walk to my stop and that leaves a few minutes in case the bus is a bit early.

So, I grab my stuff, and head on my merry way. I get to the bus stop, stand around for 5 min, figure, hey, I’ll call the next-bus service and see if the bus got delayed. “Next vehicle will arrive in 3 minutes”. So… 10 minutes later, “Next vehicle will arrive in 1 minute”… 5 minutes later… I can see the bus and I’m now late for work after standing at the bus stop for nearly 20 minutes. Low and behold, there are two busses tailing each-other, each totally empty.

—–

As I said, this experience has been mirrored by other people I know, taking totally different routes, and thus I know it is not just me who feels this way. Why does it seem, like a community who is so environmentally conscious, would discourage people from using public transit, and thus increase CO2 emissions? Again, I would like to reference point #3 above, the planners are obviously not all there.

I’d like to conclude by asking a general question to anyone who might read this… does it seem logical, that during periods of high-demand (peak times as they are referred to as), to reduce service? Mark my words, soon you will see less people using public transit if this keeps up, and then there will be inevitable cutbacks because rider-ship falls, this is only the beginning. I know I’ll be walking, or worse driving, to work a lot more than I’ll be taking public transit after this experience.

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