I haven't had much time to record my own ideas here lately, so now I'm resorting to posting other people's ideas. A local writer and activist named Brandon Kidd, whose named I've heard before but I can't recall if we've ever met in real life, sent an interesting letter to the Guelph Tribune that outline a few points for potential improvement for Guelph Transit.
Like Brandon, I too was disappointed with the nature of the survey, I don't think it took me more than three minutes to finish, and it was all multiple choice with no place on it to offer written comments. I think if Transit really wanted feedback, they would have offered a more comprehensive survey that could have allowed respondents to offer suggestions. Instead though, they're going to get dozens of surveys that say that the people who took them are barely to hardly satisfied with the service they're currently getting with no practical, or even vague, suggestions as to what they do want.
Here's the letter courtesy of the Guelph Tribune:
I found the latest Guelph Transit survey a bit brief, so consider this an addendum.
I have taken transit in this city for 25 years, seen it go through two “overhauls” already, and discussed it countless times with riders and drivers.
Here is how I would fix Guelph Transit:
1) Lots of relatively short routes leaving transfer points and going directly past major sites of interest on main roads (shopping centres, hospitals, schools, apartment complexes, etc.) which then wind their way back to transfer points through more residential areas.
2) Half a dozen routes which loop the whole breadth of the city, not just part of it: East-West, North-South, and Perimeter. And let passengers transfer at stops along these routes so that people don’t have to go out of their way to get where they’re going.
3) Have predictable, reliable 30-minute service all day every day, with 15-minute service for high traffic routes and/or during peak periods.
Changing the rhythm of the schedule for parts of the day, on some days of the week, is awful! If service isn’t every few minutes, as in Toronto, then travellers need to know when the bus is arriving before they get to their stop to read the posted times. Taking half an hour to work out those times using transit’s website is not a viable option, not even with smartphones.
4) Negotiate Kitchener and Cambridge express routes with Grand River Transit. There’s already a semi-regular, unofficial Guelph-Fergus bus that folks have cobbled together, so why not Kitchener and Cambridge trips?
5) Keep the cost of a monthly pass at $40 or $50 for everyone, but bring in year-long subscriptions. (Gyms do it, why can’t transit?) Keep the price of 10 tickets at $20. Give employers in the city the option of buying en masse subscriptions for their employees at a discount.
Approach the school boards and/or student councils with a similar deal for high school students.
The idea that ridership should support transit is absurd. Many people willingly subsidize private transit infrastructure through their taxes, because it is important and needed and many of them have cars. Therefore, the taxes of car owners can justly be used to subsidize transit.
If transit is something Guelph values, then it’s time to put money where it will do some good, and that’s not in the hands of yet more consultants!
So here you have it, a tidy five-point plan that didn’t cost a quarter-million dollars.