Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Longer Wait for Buses in Fall - Guelph Tribune

Longer Wait for Buses in Fall
Doug Hallett, Guelph
(Aug 7, 2007)

Guelph Transit says it can no longer manage to provide 30-minute bus frequency during peak travel periods and so will revert to 40-minute frequency next month.

"Overall customer demand has increased while traffic patterns have made it increasingly difficult to deliver connections on time," says a new report from Guelph Transit to city council.

It says 40-minute service intervals in the peak times will address longstanding customer complaints that buses fail to meet their connections in St. George's Square, forcing riders to wait 30 minutes for the next one to arrive.

As of Sept. 2, there will be 40-minute service from 7:15-9:15 a.m. and from 1:15-7:15 p.m. Outside of those hours, 30-minute service will be maintained.

Population growth in the city over the years has made it necessary for Guelph Transit to extend its routes, the report says. And "with the addition of more stop signs, stop lights and other traffic calming measures, the ability to sustain 30-minute service has been increasingly difficult."

Aside from ensuring connection times are met, the report says 40-minute service will mean increased schedule accuracy, will give bus drivers more time to complete their routes and could reduce the need for extra buses on various routes.

As well, it says, "our aging and disabled population often feel stressed and hurried to embark, disembark or make their transfer to a connecting bus." The 40-minute service interval will allow these people "to feel more comfortable riding conventional bus service during peak periods."

The change to a 40-minute service standard is one of several outlined in the report. Other changes, which also start Sept. 2, include:

* a new 54 Arkell route to meet needs in the area bounded by Arkell, Victoria, Clair and Gordon roads. This bus will connect riders with service into the University of Guelph

* Improvements in service to the U of G on the 51 Gordon route, made possible by time efficiencies on that route made possible by the new 54 Arkell route

* Better connections at the U of G from the perimeter route

* changes to the 52 University/Kortright route, including "express" routing at certain times of day to go along with continued 15-minute service on this route on weekdays.
I think that Guelph has the wrong idea here. Other than the fact that having less frequent service in the peak periods doesn't make sense to me at all, I believe that increasing frequencies are more important than co-ordinating transfers, mainly because increasing frequencies also minimizes the amount of time you have to wait at a stop for a connection. This service change may be more convenient for seniors, who generally are able to devote more time to their daily activities, but the agency runs the risk of turning away the rest of the population. University students are a key demographic that need to be attracted to transit early, as this is the age where they form habits which will last for the rest of their lives.

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At 8/09/2007 10:53 a.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The wisdom of this approach, which at first glance seems nonexistent, will be proven by ridership numbers over the next year.

Of course, by then the damage may be hard to reverse.

At 8/09/2007 4:47 p.m. , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, the Ed Drass reads your blog.

- Adeel

At 8/09/2007 6:51 p.m. , Blogger Andrae Griffith said...

Double wow. I'm honoured. Speechless and honoured.


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