Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Bust the bus

Thank you Councillor Paulsen. Finally someone on Council has stepped up to question the wisdom of the guru of public transit.

We keep throwing more money at a losing proposition. Other cities seem to be able to offer effective public transportation at a reasonable cost. To date we have unreliable schedules, increasing fares, higher tax subsidy and declining ridership. The GPS scenario was new information for me and altering the traffic lights to accommodate transit was also an eye-opener. I hope that doesn't happen before the South bridge opens or traffic will be worse yet. Then again that is the goal of some councillors. Make driving difficult so they will catch an unreliable bus.

Who really gets my sympathy is the university students. They are forced to buy a bus pass - most of them purchasing it with borrowed money - and do not have the service they pay for.

While examining the routes, perhaps council should also examine the management of transit.


  1. During my final year of university my Upass was useless during the mornings. I would be lucky to be able to get on the third bus to come by as the others were full.

    While it was very convenient for coming home at night, it was basically a one way Upass. Yet the Student Union kept saying how effective it was.

    The City doesn't care about anything but appearances and seeing their names in the paper. They've let the system crumble and now wonder why it is so bad (the bus system in this system is deteriorating faster than the old traffic bridge)

  2. Most bus routes are pretty reliable though during some winter periods the bus may be a few minutes late due to road conditions.

  3. Anon 11:04

    Spoken like a good little troll. Get real. They are as reliable as snow in winter. We know it will come its just when!

  4. The complaints mentioned in the article and at Council on Monday deal specifically with the high capacity UofS routes. These are the routes the articulating buses were bought for as well.

    Most other routes are pretty good - at least the ones I've been using the past few months.

    When I lived in Guelph they had a similar problem with specific routes and started running two buses back-to-back at peak times. The buses would leap frog from stop to stop until they reached the university, it worked really well.

  5. At least the city has begun to take its head out of the sand and realize the solution is to improve the bus system and not simply make it inconvenient to drive.

    I am also sick and tired of people like Anon 11:04 and Sean S. who seem to think that because they have no urgency or deadlines that no on else does. If I simply need to get from A to B on a Tuesday afternoon and have the entire afternoon to do so, then yes the bus system works. However, anyone relying on the bus system to make appointments, get to work, make it to class aren't as fortunate and can't depend on the unreliable bus system.

    People need to stop spreading the myth that our system as it currently stands is adequate. We have a very very poor transit delivery system which also happens to be very costly. It solves nothing to pretend there isn't a real problem with how it is delivered. I'm sick of the excuses that well roads are icy, bus shelters get vandalized, and they may be late but they show up eventually. These are problems that won't be going away, rather than use them as excuses find ways to overcome them, that or we can continue to listen to people like Sean S. defend the inadequate system as we're doing our best and that it isn't as bad as people make it sound.

  6. Anon 1:14pm. Please don't put words in my mouth.

    I said that I've found the routes I use - to get to work and to some appointments on a daily basis - to be reliable. I also provided some clarification on what the exact complaints raised at Council were, which precipitated the request for a report from Admin and provided the basis for the article in today's SP.

    Our transit system has a long way to go to improve its customer service, but I also don't agree with statements like the one Anon 12:59's.

  7. The bus service in this city is atrocious. Absolutely awful. It's a crapshoot trying to guess when my ride is going to get to my stop, and even if it gets there within 5 minutes, who knows if the transfer will be waiting for me?

    When the bus is 20 or 25 minutes late in -25 degree weather, do we get a "sorry for being late?" No, of course not, because the driver's job isn't to pick up riders on time -- the driver's job is to show up at the beginning of the shift and go home when he's done.

    Which brings me to another point ... does anyone know how much those drivers make? I heard a couple of them talking at one terminal, and one mentioned how he wasn't going to retire yet because he's making over a $100,000. I couldn't believe it. Can anyone verify that some drivers make this much? And if so can anyone justify that?

    Sean S: "Most other routes are pretty good." Are you kidding me? Words from a man who speaks without actually knowing. My route barely has any riders, and it is always late. Always.

    The service in this city sucks, and I think we're going to see a lot of reaction come out of Paulsen's push. Hopefully, this reaction will come from people who experience the bad service ... and not from people like Sean S.

  8. Drivers in this city do not make $100,000, they are one of the lowest paid in Canada. It may look like the drivers show up for their shift and go home at the end of the day but little do you know how most of them are busting their butt's trying to keep a bus on schedule. They can only do the best they can with what they have to work with. More buses were just purchased and more drivers are being hired. Let's hope this is the start of improvements that unfortunately can't happen overnight. It is an ongoing problem that as long as the city works with transit and the problems to improve the situation everyone will be happier hopefully sooner than later.


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