By Doug Hallett
With the new transportation terminal on Carden Street set to open on May 1, Guelph Transit says it’s finished with the major adjustments it has been making since new routes and scheduling went into effect Jan. 1.
Four used buses that were recently added to the fleet to help Guelph Transit meet ridership demand are expected to go into service the week of March 19, says Guelph Transit general manager Michael Anders.
Initially, two will be deployed on routes 5 and 21 in the south end and one will be used to provide additional capacity between the downtown and the University Centre. The fourth will be used to support routes elsewhere in the city, with Route #8 likely to be the first route where it will be deployed, said Anders.
As travel patterns change in the summer months when the university is quieter, the four additional buses may be used elsewhere depending on “where our riders are going,” he said in an interview.
While some complaints about the new transit system are still being received, the volume of complaints has returned to normal levels, Anders said. “The number of complaints we are getting now is back to historical levels we used to see.”
Guelph Transit was flooded with complaints after Jan. 1. Now, he said, most of the calls Guelph Transit is getting are route-planning inquiries from people who aren’t regular transit riders.
Guelph Transit is also focusing now on refining its bus stop network based on rider and operator feedback, he said.
“We are also directing our attention to customer service issues,” including four shelters being installed at Wal-Mart, he said. Some new bus pads will also be installed as soon as weather permits.
The move of the city bus transfer point from St. George’s Square to the new transportation terminal on Carden Street, which was originally planned for September 2011 and eventually delayed to May 2012, will go ahead as planned on May 1, said city engineer Richard Henry.
And the section of Wyndham Street near the train station, including the underpass beneath the rebuilt train bridge, will also reopen May 1, Henry said in an interview.
“So if the buses have to use Wyndham to get to their routes, it will be available,” he said.
Canopies and glass are in the process of being installed for bus shelters at the new transportation centre in which people will be able to wait on benches, Henry said.
Other work that’s to be finished before May 1 includes installation of cladding on two buildings there – a bus drivers’ washroom and an electrical building.
However, it’s not yet known when renovations planned for the biggest building there – the train station – will be done, Henry said. That’s because the city is still waiting for the federal government to give VIA Rail permission to sell the train station to the city.
“It’s a heritage building, and it has to go through a process” before it can be sold, he said. “I can’t really you a time frame” for when the planned renovations will be done.
Until the train station renovations are done and intercity buses can start using the station for ticket sales, Greyhound will continue to use a temporary bus facility at the Fountain Street parking lot, Henry said.