City survey reveals 87 per cent of respondents don’t use Guelph Transit

Posted July 8, 2012

Is it my imagination or are there a lot of city trasit buses riding around town with few passengers?

The answer my friends pops up another city survey about the percentage of people who are aware of the new  waste collection program using bins. Of the 411 respondents, 98 per cent said they are aware. The city supplied the list of addresses that was massaged by a Kitchener survey company.

The most interesting question in the survey was asking the 411 respondents if they used Guelph Transit. Some 87 per cent they didn’t ride the buses or 357 voted against using public transit.

This is not an encouraging result. Seeing that taxpayers pony-up more than $12 million a year to keep those busses running, one would hope for a bigger bang for the buck.

Judging by the number of beefs raised by riders, there is general acceptance of the transfer point change from St. George’s Square to the new  transit terminal near the train station. Now the business people around St.George’s are complaining about a fall-off of patronage.

Ah! The problem of unintended consequences.

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5 Comments

Filed under Between the Lines

5 responses to “City survey reveals 87 per cent of respondents don’t use Guelph Transit

  1. James

    The numbers are a bit off here….half the ridership is University Students and half is a mix of high school students and regular people (seniors, people going to and from work etc) This time of year the buses are always looking more empty as (a) no university or H.S. and (b) people use other modes of transport like bikes. Guelph Transit even puts LESS buses on the road in the summer saving MILLIONS of dollars. Alas, there is always this perception that the buses are ALWAYS empty when they are not considering the majority of ridership is from Sept to May). Even the TTC buses have emptier times of the year and they run less service saving some cash.

    GT also gets about 40% of its revenue from the fare box. That is better then Kitchener-Waterloo with more buses and more people! Alas, the University students make up half the ridership but not close to the revenue / service they get. This should change but the CSA and GT seem to always be at odds on any increase – even $1. They should not complain considering they get a sweetheart deal unlike other schools who pay PER MONTH and a hell of a lot more!!

    GT promised that buses would still go through the square. Having only a couple buses go through wasn’t what I thought was promised and I hope they smarten up (or at least someone on the Rider’s Transit Advisory Committee speaks up) change that and also do a longer transfer time (90 minutes like everywhere else)

    • James: Some good info. The seasonal reference is acknowledged. I’m not saying that there should be no Guelph Transit but you will admit that operating the system is a 365-day a year responsibility. One of my suggestions would be to operate smaller buses on off-peak hours and on routes with a low load factor. Please remember that this survey was done with the city’s deliverance of addresses to the surveyors. I seriously question the validity of such a small panel of respondents plus coming up with a 98 per cent awareness of the new waste pick-up system. The key problem is that we live in a city with another city inside … The University of Guelph with 22,000 plus students. While the Guelph taxpayers pay a substantial subsidy to the Transit system, the university students are not paying their fair share of transit in the city. Coupled with that is the sweetheart deal the university has with the “bed-tax” payment of $75 per student in lieu of property taxes.

      To me, the taxpayers of Guelph are heavily subsidizing the university. What is more disturbing is that all of the commercial development along Stone Road and other university lands in leased by the U of G. To my way of thinking the university is in the development business as well as performing the job of educating students.

  2. James

    One of the issues with smaller buses is there is no room to house them at the current Transit HQ building. That means more $ we can’t afford to expand it. The other thing is GT wants all buses to be of the same make so its cheaper and easier to fix the buses. They do not seem to have smaller versions of the current ones GT uses. What I would like to see is those longer buses (accordion buses) they use in many other cities. Throw those on the University routes and you can put other buses on other routes and make the whole system better. Plus we would not have to always go out and buy new buses as often. Alas, Transit Mgmt won’t do it due to the current transit hq not having the proper areas to do repairs and storage.

    • James: Between the two of us we may be able to make Guelph Transit more efficient and user friendly by emphasizing convenience.Perhaps one solution would be to privatize the system with the potential of incentive driving efficiency.

  3. James

    I do not see privatization as a good solution. Most of the ones I have seen actually deliver worse service and worse customer service. We just need the right Councillors / Mayor to push for real change.

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