If users rated your service a 1.8 out of 5 on your own Facebook business page, would you try to make your service better? If your Guelph Transit the answer is 'no'. It's a paradoxic move for the service even as it moves into council mandated budget cuts for the summer and the loss of twice-a-day peak service. The reaction from the public in the last week though has not been good, as the cuts are being blamed for delays and missed transfers by the City's dedicated bus riders.
Culled from Guelph Transit's social media feeds, you'll notice below a trend of missed stops, full buses, and late transfers either due to traffic pressures or too much idling along the route.
@guelphtransit just so you know.. Second day in a row the 5a didn't go down Victoria during peak times.. Hope no one was waiting— Sarah Currie (@SimpleSLC) May 3, 2016
@guelphtransit every single bus I have taken today was late. I left an hour ago, and am late for work. Horrible service. I am angry— Andrew Sandor (@3numba3) May 2, 2016
@guelphtransit Imperial, departed downtown at 7:15am and didn't arrive back downtown until 7:50am due to multiple unnecessary stops to sit.— WRAY (@warrenhutton) May 2, 2016
@guelphtransit @adamadonaldson now it's me stranded at the UC waiting on the 2A scheduled to depart at 6:00. I will miss my appointment.— Richard Cole (@rickthaluddite) May 2, 2016
@guelphtransit Can you get your drivers to leave the station on time? For 2nd day in a row, late to stop, and will probably miss connection— EJ (@eee_jay_) May 3, 2016
@guelphtransit thanks for making me late. Can we go back to the regular schedule now please?— Queen Bree (@BreeJess) May 3, 2016
I, myself, witnessed such an incident Tuesday on the Route #10 Imperial, when the driver stopped at the West End Rec Centre and told a bus full of people that we would be five minutes late getting downtown to Guelph Central Station in order to save money on milage. When people started to complain, the driver told them to call their councillor because this was in the effort to save money following budget cuts.
The problems are not unexpected. In December, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1189 President Andrew Cleary told council that that the half-hour system "proof of failure" and that "at its best, it did not work 15 years ago." After four days, it seems to be working even worse than foretold.
Repeated attempts to reach Guelph Transit General Manager Phil Meagher were unsuccessful, but in lieu of that let's consider the issues as outlined above. You may say that these are just a few outliers and that thousands of people take the bus everyday without complaint, but let's consider some statistics from the White House Office of Consumer Affairs. For every customer that complains, there are 26 others that remain silent, and news of a bad customer service experience reaches twice as many people as a good one.
So the question is, how much longer will Guelph Transit users put up with a service that costs them more and expect less from, and how long Guelph Transit and its managers will keep giving it to them?