I spoke at Burlington Council on April 7th. After hearing again - from one councillor anyway - that our buses are riding around empty - I thought I should really get my facts straight.
I’ve tried. I wrote to all members of Council on March 27th seeking clarification on “data” given by that same member of Council at a March 26th public meeting.
After the Council meeting I again sought clarification in writing from staff. No response yet, so nothing else to do, I guess, but get on the buses. Since they are apparently as empty as a city hall office between Christmas and New Years, I’m sure I’ll have no problem finding a seat.
Friday April 11
Hopping on yet another 23 year-old bus, #7005-85, (see previous posts) #2 Brant North bus departs the downtown terminal at 7:15 a.m.
The bus heads up Brant, meanders through north urban Burlington, over to Guelph Line, and then back on Cavendish to Upper Middle Road where it heads east. At MM Robinson the bus (which has now become the #3 Guelph Line South) turns right heading back down to the Lakeshore eventually to the Terminal.
In its one-hour circuit I’m joined by thirty-six (36) other riders. The nine passengers on the early part of the route are making connections to trains or other buses at the Fairview GO station. (Wonder when that new parking garage will be ready? Can’t ever really have enough parking spots?)
The bulk of the other passengers appear to be students heading to MMR, Rolling Meadows PS, or connections downtown.
After a full circuit I disembark, but the bus keeps running. In fact, the #2 Brant North leaves the terminal 48 times on any given weekday. The Brant South route does the same. The most recent statistics show 1,055 riders board over the course of the day - an average of 11 riders on each of the 96 runs – making the Councillor’s “one-third a rider per hour” projection about as accurate as George W. Bush’s pre-invasion assessment of Iraqi nuclear capabilities.
Other routes are similar and will be documented in an upcoming posting.
A Suburban Myth
It is a myth that empty buses ramble around our suburban streets.
In fact, a lot of people currently ride these buses. Many of these riders have no other choice in getting on with day to day living than to take the bus. Besides our environmental imperatives dictate that we must find ways to get drivers out of their cars and onto public transit.
The cost containment exercise the city has embarked on needs to keep this in mind.
(My presentation to Council is available by e-mailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org)