I found the latest Guelph Transit survey a bit brief, so consider this an addendum.
I have taken transit in this city for 25 years, seen it go through two “overhauls” already, and discussed it countless times with riders and drivers.
Here is how I would fix Guelph Transit:
1) Lots of relatively short routes leaving transfer points and going directly past major sites of interest on main roads (shopping centres, hospitals, schools, apartment complexes, etc.) which then wind their way back to transfer points through more residential areas.
2) Half a dozen routes which loop the whole breadth of the city, not just part of it: East-West, North-South, and Perimeter. And let passengers transfer at stops along these routes so that people don’t have to go out of their way to get where they’re going.
3) Have predictable, reliable 30-minute service all day every day, with 15-minute service for high traffic routes and/or during peak periods.
Changing the rhythm of the schedule for parts of the day, on some days of the week, is awful! If service isn’t every few minutes, as in Toronto, then travelers need to know when the bus is arriving before they get to their stop to read the posted times. Taking half an hour to work out those times using transit’s website is not a viable option, not even with smartphones.
4) Negotiate Kitchener and Cambridge express routes with Grand River Transit. There’s already a semi-regular, unofficial Guelph-Fergus bus that folks have cobbled together, so why not Kitchener and Cambridge trips?
5) Keep the cost of a monthly pass at $40 or $50 for everyone, but bring in year-long subscriptions. (Gyms do it, why can’t transit?) Keep the price of 10 tickets at $20. Give employers in the city the option of buying en masse subscriptions for their employees at a discount.
Approach the school boards and/or student councils with a similar deal for high school students.
The idea that ridership should support transit is absurd. Many people willingly subsidize private transit infrastructure through their taxes, because it is important and needed and many of them** have cars. Therefore, the taxes of car owners can justly be used to subsidize transit.
If transit is something Guelph values, then it’s time to put money where it will do some good, and that’s not in the hands of yet more consultants!
So here you have it, a tidy five-point plan that didn’t cost a quarter-million dollars.
**Here the article should read “and many of them don’t have cars” but was misprinted.