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West end bus route change done without consultation

Yesterday (Feb. 3) we passed by a Guelph Transit crew affixing a new bus stop sign on Stephanie Drive between Elmira and Imperial roads and wondered how this change to bus route 9 could possibly serve the ridership better than the old route.
The heart of the matter is that there was no involvement of the citizens who are affected by this change.
The City of Guelph prides itself on public consultation. But the only notification we received was a letter dated Jan. 11, from Guelph Transit general manager Michael Anders, advising only those residents with addresses on Stephanie Drive that effective Feb. 3 a revised bus route would be implemented.
Even our Ward 4 councillors were taken by surprise. Where was the consultation phase of this change? Where was the inclusion of those residents whose properties border Stephanie Drive?
Three weeks’ notice did not provide sufficient time to determine how the changes to this and other bus routes in the area would impact those affected.
A poll of the affected residents on Stephanie Drive and bordering properties (over 90% oppose the change) and feedback from the Parkwood Gardens neighbourhood revealed opposition to this change, for reasons ranging from safety concerns around the elementary schools and traffic congestion to loss or degradation of service.
Our biggest disappointment is that city council empowered Guelph Transit to make unilateral changes – not the democratic process we have come to know and respect.
According to a communication from Anders, the sole motivation for the change to Route 9 was to improve its on-time performance.
Guelph Transit has not demonstrated that any studies were conducted about the impact on ridership – a key consideration for making an informed decision.
It would be interesting to know what accountability measures, if any, are in place to ensure that any changes made by Guelph Transit serve the greater good.
Dave and Denise Murray

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