No change to bus transfers, idling behind city...
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Nov 19, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

No change to bus transfers, idling behind city hall

Stratford Gazette

Chet Greason cgreason@stratfordgazette.com

Public transit was discussed at last week’s meeting of the community services subcommittee, but by meeting’s end very little had changed.

Director of Community Services David St. Louis discussed an idea that was circulated to extend the time on bus transfers. Currently, transfers provided to riders are good for a half hour. A request to look into a system of hour-long or even full day passes did not find fans amongst city staff.

“The idea is one fare for one ride,” said St. Louis, adding that staff were concerned that longer transfers may result in lost revenue as well as opening up the possibility of abuse from customers who would pass transfers to friends.

He said that, with six routes that fan out from city hall, “a half hour should be plenty of time,” for riders to get to their destination. The subcommittee agreed, and passed a recommendation to keep bus transfers as they are.

The subcommittee further addressed concerns about buses idling at city hall.

Currently, city buses are exempt from Stratford’s idling bylaw, which states that vehicles left running while not in motion for more than five minutes will be subject to a fine. The bylaw also exempts emergency vehicles, armoured vehicles (ie. bank vans), and vehicles that are left to run in order to address maintenance issues.

St. Louis explained that shutting buses off while they wait at city hall would disable the climate control, leaving passengers to freeze in the winter or bake in the summer heat.

In addition, the practice of shutting down buses during inclement weather would run the risk of not being able to start them again. St. Louis explained how, with the buses being as old as they are, they typically need to run for at least five minutes in order to start up fully.

Subcommittee chair Brad Beatty said, as much as he doesn’t like seeing buses idle, it seemed necessary in order for them to remain operational. Subcommittee member Martin Ritsma agreed, noting how diesel tractors at home on his farm are not shut off very often while they’re seeing heavy use.

“It’s not the answer you want to hear, but it is what it is,” he said.

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