Almost two weeks into a peak-less summer, people are still frustrated by the reduction of service hours to Guelph Transit, and Transit's General Manager Phil Meagher wants you to know that he feels your pain.
"I appreciate everyone's concerns," Meagher said to me by phone. He explained that Transit has received "hundreds of complaints," and while they're doing what they can to make do without peak service, the issues he and transit users are facing were predictable and explained to council last year.
"They made the choice knowing full well the impact," Meagher said about the decision to cut peak service from May to September during city council's budget deliberations last December. "They were well advised. If a route is 37 minutes [long], it can't be done in 30 minutes."
Meagher said that Routes #8, #10, and #13 are especially problematic as routes that aren't designed to be driven in a 30-minute timeline. "It didn't work in 2012," he added, referencing the year before Guelph Transit implemented a system-wide route and schedule relaunch.
As for specific complaints, including one of my own, Meagher says he is both unaware of any organized attempt by the members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1189 to get people riled up about the cuts, nor had heard anything about drivers needing to "Save milage" by idling. "I have no idea what they're talking about," he said candidly.
Representatives from ATU 1189 could not be reached for comment.
In the meantime, complaints on social media continue to pile up, including some influential members of the public.
Another problem that transit's encountering is the heavy construction across town, most notably the closure of Gordon St. south of Wellington. Meagher puts the blame for traffic confusion there on motorists that aren't following the detour. "There's a detour for transit and there's a detour for motorists," he said. "I think people aren't paying attention, and the message has been out there for weeks and weeks."
Unfortunately, all Meagher can advise is patience. "Bear with us," he said when asked for advice for transit users. "We're going back to the regular schedule in September, but for now, plan your trip accordingly."