We normally do a quarterly discussion of transit matters with a couple of our friends from the Transit Action Alliance of Guelph, or TAAG, but there’s been a lot going on lately, and it’s been really hard for friends to get together like we usually do. Getting people to take the bus in the best of times is hard, but during a pandemic? It’s time for another edition of the Transit Pass, even though these days you don’t need one.
Thousands of people take Guelph Transit every month, especially when school’s in sessions, and while Transit hasn’t released any official numbers, most transit systems are reporting a loss in ridership of 90 per cent or more. Almost all transit systems have cut schedules, or rolled back service, but in the wake of the pandemic they’ve still been deemed an essential service so that people still have the means to get to work or the grocery store.
It’s a perfect storm: cities have to run a transit service in some capacity, but many of them depend on the revenue from the fare box in order to cover the cost. Some transit systems, like Guelph Transit, have made services free as a way to encourage social distancing, but that means there’s currently no revenue being collected at all. There are pressures now on upper levels of government to give transit some bailout money, otherwise they might need to start charging fares again. It’s a conundrum, so let’s see what one of our friends from TAAG might have to say about it.
So this week on the podcast, Steve Petric, the chair of TAAG, will talk about what it’s like to take the bus these days, and how Transit is managing the health and safety of both passengers and operators during the pandemic. He also talks about the current financial needs of transit, and what role TAAG serves in promoting transit while everyone’s in lockdown. And finally, he will also talk about how the pandemic can promote new, radical approaches to the way we plan and fund transit.
So let’s talk about transit during our pandemic age on this week’s Guelph Politicast!
To learn more about the Transit Action Alliance of Guelph, and its advocacy, you can go to their website here, and to keep up to date with the latest from Guelph Transit itself, go to their website here. Remember, Transit is free in Guelph until July 1, and presently only 10 people are allowed on the bus at a time.
Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.