Making Guelph Transit work for you

What would it take to encourage you to take the bus instead of driving your car?

There is has been considerable focus on climate change since Al Gore’s movie Inconvenient Truth was released last year. Clearly, we as a society will have to make major changes to our lifestyle to reduce our carbon footprint. One of the key changes will be in transportation. Many of our daily trips are with one person in a car traveling less than 5km. Can these trips be made by public transit?

Recently University of Guelph president Alastair Summerlee sent a wish list to City Hall. “The university’s students, faculty and staff are the highest-volume users of public transit in the city,” he said. “The university — and other large employers in the City of Guelph — believe that usage would further increase if Guelph Transit were to provide an affordable bus pass for employees.”

Linamar, Guelph’s largest employer with over 6,500 employees, would also like to see improvements to public transit. Some of their factories are not even on a bus route. Some employees have to “walk one kilometre from the bus stop to work” Linamar stated in a recent presentation to city councillors. “At the end of a 12 hour shift, a one km walk is the last thing our employees want”.

Linamar is growing fast and needs more land to build new factories. A lot of their land is currently used for employee parking. If improved public transit encourages more of their employees to take the bus, then Linamar could build new plants in the newly vacanted parking lots.

Currently the buses run on a radial grid system meeting twice an hour in the Downtown. Guelph Transit has added a new perimeter service with regular shuttles running to the University. Is this the best model for a modern growing city?

What do you think? What improvements need to be made to Guelph’s public transit system so that you will ride the bus? What do you like best about the buses? What is worst?

Bicycle racks anyone?

0 thoughts on “Making Guelph Transit work for you

  1. Improvements for the busses? I’ve got dozens.

    1. STOP busses meeting in the square. If they must come to a central point, drop off and pick up, no lingering. Have the busses continually looping and get rid of the twice hourly converging and waiting around. This will also help save lives, the drivers won’t have time for their smoke break, and they won’t kill anybody trying to get back to the square in time. (ooo0h, that was low, I know, but it is an outdated system – Guelph has gotten so big, busses should no longer be expected to make their route safely in a 1/2 hour.)

    2. Instead of converging in the square, link the routes so you can travel through the city rather than always having to come back to the square, like the TTC in Toronto.
    eg. If I was at Willow West Mall and wanted to get to Zehr’s at Imperial Rd, I would have to cross Willow (a four-lane busy road), catch the bus to the square and transfer to another bus, cross another busy road to get to the store. approx travel time 1hr 30min. One way.

    3. Which brings me to my next point – have busses travel right on to mall properties for drop-off and pick-up. How convenient is it to walk hundreds of meters with multiple shopping bags to a bus stop? Put up shelters on or near mall properties and avoid hazardous and unsafe pedestrian road crossings.

    4. Make transfers good for one hour ANYWHERE, not just downtown. Who wants to pay bus fare to travel and “pop in” somewhere for what could be minutes and then have to turn around and pay another fare to return only because your business is not in the downtown core.

    I hope these comments are helpful. Thank you for listening.

  2. Great question! My husband, our two children and I actually love public transit and would support even paying more taxes to the city to improve the service.

    We do have some concerns that relate more to bus stops than the buses itself. For example, at the Emma and Delhi stop (on the west side of Delhi), there is no sidewalk leading to the bus stop. Try getting two(!) strollers over the ice and snow drifts while attempting to wait for the bus. It’s not only difficult but dangerous as there is a lot of traffic down that road. In order to truly promote public transit use, people cannot be expected to risk the safety of their children in order to access the bus. We were sorely disappointed to see Delhi repaved this last summer without the addition of a sidewalk at that location. Poor planning in our opinion.

  3. I am not certain if this is feasible but I would take the bus much more often if there could be a bus stop on Eramosa between Delhi and Woolwich on the downtown bound side of the street. At the moment we can take the bus to the grocery stores but the closest we can get to home is a 10-15 minute walk away; which is challenging with heavy grocery bags and young kids in tow. Or we have to take the bus to the square and back track which really feels like such a waste of time.

    Also I would love there to be some sort of family bus pass to make it more affordable for families to take the bus (at least for families with young kids under 10 or so). They are too young to take the bus alone but the fare adds up really fast when you have to pay for everyone.

    I love the bike rack idea and the comments by others.

  4. I agree it takes a shockingly long time to ride the bus in Guelph. It’s like a full-time job getting to certain destinations; you pretty much have to be retired to even attempt it. The arterial routes are an improvement, but all the routes have to be revamped to allow riders to travel more than one direction from our homes. I think it’s time to introduce the system of routes along the major roads with transfers to neighbourhood routes along the way (and bus racks would be really useful in this scheme too). From downtown to the University there should also be some buses that travel express.

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