Transpo giveth and Transpo taketh away.
The fall revamp of OC Transpo bus schedules, effective Sept. 6, is no minor tinkering, with entire routes added and cancelled, more frequent buses on some, and much renumbering, rerouting and rejigging.
Giveth: Say hello to new routes 99, 120, 133, 150, 155, 159, 189, 195 and 199.
Taketh away: End of the line for routes 25, 29, 30, 50, 51, 55 and 59.
Giveth: “Route 2 service west of Westboro station will be increased to every 10 minutes during rush hour and every 12 minutes midday,” OC Transpo’s website informs us.
Taketh away: Leave the bike at home. Route 2 is no longer designated a Rack and Roll route.
After all this losing on the swings and gaining on the roundabouts, OC Transpo says overall service will be expanded by seven per cent.
Numerous inbound routes will now stop before they reach the downtown core, an attempt to reduce the traffic congestion caused by those endless rush hour conga lines of buses. That means lots of passengers transferring to get across downtown. A transfer is just one more opportunity for missed connection and delay, and usually on the coldest days of winter.
When the changes were proposed, there were complaints about the short amount of time transit users (and owners, lest we forget) had to lobby for the retention of their local route. Sure it’s public transit, but who needs to hear from the public?
Changes, though, are always going to be unwelcome in some quarters. We don’t like having our food dish moved, and once you’ve chiselled out your own niche of the transit system and made it work for you, it’s a pain to go back to the drawing board.
I expect many riders don’t bother researching the ins and outs of the bus schedules and will find out about the changes by going to the bus stop, waiting, and eventually realizing the bus isn’t coming — ever.
That said, 24-hour service on Route 95, which spits people across the city and to suburban Park & Rides beyond, is a welcome development.
The change adds just a little less than two hours of additional service, but for shift workers, late-night partiers and those who find themselves unexpectedly stranded at odd hours, it could make all the difference. Even if your starting point or destination isn’t near a stop, a cab ride to the Transitway beats paying for a trip right across town. Here’s hoping it’s just the first such expansion.