Resident questions whether the free transit during off peak hours will make a difference.

News 100 redBy Staff

March 27th, 2019



A Burlington resident isn’t so sure that the city’s plans for free rides on the transit buses from 9:30 to 4:00 pm Monday to Friday is all that good an idea.

He is questioning why do this? – we are just shifting riders’ times to “off-peak” times. If this is to increase ridership, it will not succeed. So I think it’s more to do with optics and politics than helping transit.

One of the new buses added o the Burlington Transit fleet. There were busses that had more than 15 years on their tires - those old ones certainly rattled down Guelph Line when I was on one of them.

Resident is going to rise the bus and ask questions to determine if people will use the free ride during off peak hours.

Rather than just bellyache the resident said he will be going on a few bus rides, at various times, and chat with riders to get their stories (students, business people commuting, seniors, and those who choose transit for whatever reason).

He will report to you the Gazette readers on what he has learned.

Our writer was at one of the Burlington Transit public meetings and found it wanting – they really weren’t interested in what the public (the usual suspects anyway) had to say – just put a few dots on a map.

“I hope to have something for you mid-April.”

We will watch for this one.

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5 comments to Resident questions whether the free transit during off peak hours will make a difference.

  • Stephen White

    If this experiment benefits seniors, low-income residents and persons without a car who otherwise may have been house bound or compelled to pay for a taxi or Uber then what’s the harm? Try it for a year or so, monitor the trial, do the benefit/cost analysis, and adjust where necessary. I would rather Burlington Transit experiment with different concepts and ideas in an effort to enhance ridership and provide an important public service than just keep doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result.

    The next step should be connecting with public transit authorities in Oakville and St. Catharines to figure out what they are doing that works. Buses in those communities are regularly filled with passengers. Why? (Hint: maybe it has to do with scheduling).

    • Phillip Wooster

      Scheduling is critical. I would never use Burlington Transit–why? My time is too valuable–if I were to take a bus from my home in South Burlington to the Burlington Centre (Mall), I can be back home by car in the time I would be waiting for the bus! People who advocate for transit, cycling, and alternative transportation often ignore the needs of the potential users–convenience and time. People will only opt for the method that best meets these needs–currently the car!

  • Susan L.

    “If this is to increase ridership, it will not succeed.” Starting with that attitude, I could guess what the outcome of his report would have been.

    I say, “would have been” because as far as I know, there can’t be a report for mid April if the pilot doesn’t start until June 2019. And unless things have changed, it is supposed to run between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., not 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.

  • Collin

    Just to clarify, the free rides are for seniors and low-income people, not for everyone. It’s good that the free transit will bring your resident onto the buses, and talking to the riders will garner some good stories, but let’s be cautious about judging the experiment too early and with only anecdotal evidence. The old Council made too many transit decisions based on “anecdata.” One of the behind-the-scenes improvements Burlington Transit is making is to update its software so it will be able to have reliable hard data on boardings. If the free-fare idea brings more people onto the buses, that will be great. But let’s remember this is one of a package of improvements, all of which will make the transit system more attractive to riders and potential riders.

  • ROger

    I agree with the comment – went to 1 drop in – staff there were polite but this waa far from an engagement – place the dot – go away 🙁 – the future of Burlington Transit is not bright

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