We used to have these quarterly check ups about transit issues, but the pandemic hit last March, and suddenly transit service was limited. Buses are still running on a reduced schedule, but now the City of Guelph is looking to the future, first with the Transportation Master Plan, and now with the review of a new 10-year plan for transit expansion. But how is all this sitting with transit fans?
Last time we had a Transit Pass, it was about this time last year and buses were still operating with only 10 people at a time. In the weeks that followed, masking allowed more people to get back on the bus, but the almost non-existent number of in-person classes at the University of Guelph drove a big whole in ridership and revenue. Staff has said that it could take Transit about two to three years to recover ridership post-pandemic.
Having said that, the City and Guelph Transit are looking to the future. There was the revelation of the draft Transportation Master Plan a few weeks ago at council, and now the City is collecting feedback about a proposed multi-year expansion and realignment of transit routes. The City wants 19 per cent more trips on modes of transportation other than single-occupancy vehicles, which sounds easy enough, but are these plans the best way to get more people on the bus?
Steve Petric, chair of the Transit Action Alliance of Guelph or TAAG, will join us to pursue this, and many other pressing transit questions. He will also talk about the the good news in the 10-year plan, the parts of the plan that still present challenges, and whether city council is going to be willing to proceed with all the ambitious changes. Also Petric will talk about what it’s like to take the bus these days, and whether we’ll need those two-to-three years to get ridership back on the proverbial track.
So let’s strap in for the latest edition of the Transit Pass on this week’s Guelph Politicast!
To learn more about the Transit Action Alliance of Guelph, go to their website. The City of Guelph is collecting feedback about the proposed changes to transit routes, and you can see those maps and documents at the City’s Have Your Say page. There’s also a town hall about the changes next Wednesday June 16 at 7 pm and you can follow along on the City’s Facebook page.
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.