Transcript - Guelph Transit Route Review June 8th Town Hall Recording
Introductory Remarks - Tracy Suerich
Welcome everybody to the Transit Route Review Town Hall with the City of Guelph. We are broadcasting live to WebEx, to guelph.ca/live, and also to Facebook at the City of Guelph Facebook page, and I believe over to the Guelph Transit Facebook page so we are broadcasting just about everywhere around Guelph. My name is Tracy Suerich, and I am an Engagement Coordinator with the City of Guelph, working on this project with Andrea Mikkila here. Sorry, I never get to say Andrea’s last name. Andrea’s the Acting Supervisor of Planning and Scheduling and she and I, and a few colleagues working behind the scenes, are here and we're excited to present an overview of the proposed transit system with routes and timelines to you tonight. It's about a 20-minute presentation and it will be followed by a question period.
Before we begin, we are reminded that Guelph is situated on treaty land that is steeped in rich Indigenous history and home to many First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people today. As a city, we have a responsibility for the stewardship of the land on which we live and work. Today, we acknowledge the Mississaugas of the Credit Nation, First Nations, of the Anishnaabe people on whose traditional territory many of us are joining from tonight.
Though we aren’t actually talking about changes to the land itself tonight, we are talking about how we move through this land and our hope to make less of an impact on the environment around us by growing the use of public transit. This is the Transit Route Review. It’s based on a lot of research and discussions at the city level and also on feedback from the community over the years. We've also made lots of observations about how transit actually functions that have been mashed up into the plan that you'll see tonight. Now, these plans are not set in stone. We want to confirm with you that that's why we're here today. We want to share the proposal with you, the proposed system, and we want to hear back from all of you, either tonight here on this platform or through our engagement platform, haveyoursay.guelph.ca/routereview. There we'll find out how these plans can be improved to make the transit system the right transit system for Guelph. We need your feedback.
Before we begin tonight's presentation, I have a few housekeeping items. We will be recording, I think we're already recording, we are broadcasting too, but don't worry, there are no videos and no voices from anybody other than from Andrea and myself. We do want you to leave your questions and comments in the chat box that's available on both Webex and Facebook. If you’re watching from guelph.ca and you do have a question, you can either hop over to one of those platforms, you see the links listed on the screen right now, or you can visit haveyoursay.guelph.ca/routereview and leave your questions there, but we won’t get to them tonight if that’s the way you go.
During the show tonight, we will gather up all of your questions throughout the presentation and then at the end of the presentation, of twenty minutes in itself, I will ask them on your behalf. I’d like to ask that everybody please keep your questions and comments respectful. We're here because we want Guelph to have a better transit system, maybe even a great transit system, and that requires all of us to work together, so keep that goal in mind as we move through. We’re here to show you what we’ve got and Andrea is the keeper of the knowledge tonight. She has been working on this for a long time, as long as I've known her, and take it away, Andrea, share it with us.
Presentation - Andrea Mikkila
Thanks, Tracy. So, yeah, I'm Andrea Mikkila, the Acting Supervisor of Planning and Scheduling. I've been with Guelph Transit for just over two years now, and I was basically brought on to complete this route review.
So, what is the Guelph Transit Route Review? As part of the 2019 Guelph Transit Business Service review, it was recommended that a full route review be completed, looking at general system changes and individual route changes. This review would also provide background for the future Guelph Transit Strategic Plan to 2040.
The vision for the Route Review is to create a competitive, convenient and reliable transit network that meets the needs of today's and tomorrow's customers.
A number of guiding policy documents were reviewed. In addition, data for existing routes, both before and during the pandemic, have been analyzed. These sources include ridership and stop activity data, on time performance, and a survey of a sample of riders and residents conducted in mid-2020.
So two-thirds of respondents identified that they did not currently take transit but identified what changes would encourage them to opt to take transit. Current riders also identified what changes would make their experience on transit better. Through these initial surveys, it was found the priorities for the route network should be more routes that take people where they need to go, quicker travel times, frequent service, and more service reliability. These priorities are in line with the goals from the guiding documents listed before. It was also found that many routes struggle to stay on time and a mixture of service types is most effective for Guelph. Crosstown routes, transit priority measures, such as traffic signal priority, and managing overloaded buses were topics commonly brought up by respondents.
Before developing the network, a set of service guidelines were created. They were updated and combined from numerous documents, such as the Official Plan, the Business Service Review, and the Transit Growth Strategy from 2010. The guidelines are important because they ensure a consistent approach is made to reviewing and adjusting the transit network as the city grows. The full service guidelines are available in a document on haveyoursay.guelph.ca/routereview.
So, these are a few highlights and quick facts of the concept network. Implementation is planned to occur over 10 years, dependent on COVID-19 and Council direction. There is an increase from 3 route types to 5 route types. Service hours in kilometres are increased by about 30%. On demand service continues to be used to supplement regular service. Expanded service is provided on Sundays on several routes. There are plans to service new growth areas, such as the Guelph Innovation District, the new operations campus on Dunlop, and the Clair-Maltby secondary plan area. All intensification corridors have frequent transit service from multiple routes and all community nodes have increased service.
Here's a map that shows the ultimate network that would exist in year 10 of the plan. Each year and route will be shown in more detail in the following slides. You can also access an interactive map on the ‘Have Your Say’ website. So, for this network, a family of services has been introduced, which is a variety of route types to serve different service levels and purposes. These are: the 90 series, or core roots, that run a minimum 20 minutes during peaks with extended Sunday hours. Routes 3 through 25 are base roots that run every 20 to 30 minutes during peaks and generally every 30 minutes off peak. The 50 Series are the university express routes that run September to May and provide direct service to the University Center with demand-based frequencies. The 70 series, or community on-demand routes, are implemented in new growth or low demand areas as either fixed routes with reduced hours or as on-demand routes. Year 10 of the plan only has one route in the 70 series, the community bus on-demand, that was recently introduced. Another 70 series route is recommended beyond the 10 year plan. These routes can be converted to base routes if service targets are met. Last are the 100 series industrial express routes. None are shown in this concept, but they would be routes developed in partnership with employers and funded through corporate initiatives to provide additional service to employment and industrial areas. Please note that the summary of each year to follow assumes that routes mentioned operate during the standard service hours of 5:45 a.m. to 12:15 a.m. Monday to Saturday and 9:15 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. Sundays, unless otherwise stated.
Year 1 of the plan would involve the reintroduction of full service levels as we've been operating on a Saturday service during the pandemic, but there would be some modifications and expansions. As of May 1st this year, the Community Bus North and South loops and the Route 16 Southgate have been converted to on-demand service. In year 1 of the plan, the Community Bus would remain as on-demand, and it is assumed that ridership would increase once the pandemic is over. So it is recommended that the Route 16 Southgate is reintroduced in place of the on-demand service as well as introducing the Hanlon Creek Route 19 on the other side of the Hanlon. These routes would both run every 30 minutes Monday to Sunday. Route 99 Mainline would resume running every 10 minutes on weekdays and an additional bus would be added to the route when the university is in to help the route run on time. The Route 40 Scottsdale Express would not be reinstated, and the Route 50U, 51U Janefield and 57U Ironwood would be combined into one route that runs every 15 minutes, Monday to Friday, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., September to May. Lastly, the Route 56U Colonial - oops, I must have missed a circle. The Route 56U Colonial and 58U Edinburgh would have service end earlier to run from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
In year 2, the Route 10 Imperial, Route 12 General Hospital, and Route 13 Victoria Road Rec Center would have midday service increased to every 20 minutes to match peak service. Route 3 Westmount is extended to the Woodlawn Smart Centre and removed from Edinburgh Road. Modifications would be made to Route 99 Mainline, Route 1 Edinburgh College, Route 3 Westmount, and Route 7 Kortright Downey to better match demand levels. Route 99 Mainline would have Sunday service expanded to run from 7:15 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. Peak weekday service is increased from every 10 minutes to every 9 minutes when university is in, and late-night service would be adjusted to every 20 minutes on weeknights. Route 1 Edinburgh College and Route 3 Westmount would have Saturday service adjusted to run on Sunday hours, and Route 7 Kortright Downey would run from 7:15 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. on Saturdays. Lastly, Route 16 Southgate would introduce two branches of the route. Oops, sorry about that. These branches would run every other trip. One would be the conventional Route 16 that travels along Clairfields Drive and the other one would not run along Clairfields and would instead travel on the Southgate Drive south of Clair Road. These branches would only exist during the peaks for morning and evening shift changes, Monday to Sunday, with the remainder of the time just running the single Route 16.
Year 3, the first phase of the Route 98 Speedvale is introduced. In future years it would run all the way to Elmira Road at Paisley Road; however, the first phase would have a short-turn via Willow Road and Imperial Road. The 98 Speedvale would run every 20 minutes on weekdays from the morning to evening peak and every 30 minutes evenings and weekends. It would also have extended Sunday service hours from 7:15 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. With the introduction of the 98 Speedvale, this allows the modification of other routes that also travel on Speedvale and the surrounding areas. Route 12 General Hospital would be removed from most of Speedvale and would provide bi-directional service in the Waverly neighbourhood. Route 13 Victoria Road Rec Center would be removed from much of Eramosa Road to provide bi-directional service toward the rec centre. Route 20 Northwest Industrial would be removed from Marksam Road as part of the ultimate routing design in later years. Lastly, since Route 12 General Hospital would now travel clockwise along Inverness Drive, Simmons Drive, and Victoria Road, Route 17 Woodlawn Watson would be removed from that area to instead travel straight across Woodlawn Road.
In year 4, weekday day time service would be increased from 30 minutes to 20 minutes on Route 8 Stone Road Mall and Route 20 Northwest Industrial.
In year 5, the final routing of the 98 Speedvale would be implemented to run to Elmira Road at Paisley Road. From there, the route would continue as the new Route 17 Fife. The existing Route 17 Woodlawn Watson and Route 18 Watson Woodlawn would be combined into one bi-directional route, Route 18 Watson Woodlawn, that runs between Woodlawn Smart Centre and Stone Road Mall every 30 minutes. The new Route 17 Fife would cover the portion of the previous Route 17 and 18 that runs between Stone Road Mall and Elmira Road at Paisley Road. This route would run every 20 minutes weekdays during the day and every 30 minutes evenings and weekends. Lastly, Route 20 Northwest Industrial would be split into three separate routes that each run every 30 minutes. They are Route 20 Wellington Imperial, Route 21 Willow, and Route 22 Curtis. These routes provide more bi-directional service and an overall increase in service levels in the employment areas.
Year 6, the new Operations Campus would be built on Dunlop Drive. Route 4 York would be extended to service the campus and would now have daytime service increased from 30 minutes to 20 minutes, Monday to Saturday. A new Route 24 Stone would also be introduced to operate between the Operations Campus and Stone Road Mall along Stone Road. This route would run every 20 minutes during the day, Monday to Saturday, and every 30 minutes all other times.
Year 7 would see several routes absorbing parts of other routes to create new by directional services. Route 9 Waterloo would no longer travel to Fife Road and would instead head north on Silvercreek Parkway, through the new connection to the rest of Silvercreek Parkway, then would absorb Westwood Road service from Route 10. It would then travel on Willow Road to Silvercreek Parkway to Woodlawn Road and, finally, to the Woodlawn Smart Centre. It would do the same in the reverse direction. The route would be renamed to Route 9 Waterloo Silvercreek. This route would run every 30 minutes. Route 10 Imperial would be renamed to Route 10 Paisley and would travel in both directions on the entirety of Paisley Road. It would tentatively use Willow Road and Tovell Drive to turn around in the west end. This route would run every 20 minutes during the day, Monday to Saturday, and every 30 minutes at all other times. Route 11 Willow West would be renamed to Route 11 Edinburgh. It would no longer service Silvercreek Parkway and it would be extended to the Woodlawn Smart Centre. It would run every 30 minutes.
Year 8 would see the extension of Route 7 Kortright Downey. It's proposed that the route would now service Kortright Road East and MacAllister Boulevard in the east. There are also two options in the west: either maintaining the current routing via Downey Road or extending the route along Pheasant Run. The preferred option can be identified through the survey online. This route would run every 30 minutes. We would be introducing two paired routes in the east end: Route 13 Eastview Watson and Route 23 Watson Eastview. These two routes would provide service in both directions between downtown and the east end via Eramosa, Eastview, Watson Parkway, York Road, and Elizabeth Street. Both routes would run every 30 minutes. With the introduction of the Route 13 and 23, Route 18 Watson Woodlawn would be removed from that area to travel straight down Victoria and would be renamed Route 18 Victoria. It would also terminate at the University Center instead of Stone Road Mall. Lastly, Route 59U Gordon Express would be extended to the downtown to supplement our Mainline. This route would run every 15 minutes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday, September to May.
In year 9, Route 1 Edinburgh College, Route 2 College Edinburgh, and Route 11 Edinburgh are combined into one route, the Route 97 Edinburgh, that travels from the Woodlawn Smart Centre in the North to the commercial area near Gordon and Clair in the south. This route would service the entirety of Edinburgh Road, except to deviate to Dawson Road. It would also service the new South End Rec Center. It would run every 20 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes at all other times. Route 18 Victoria would be extended to the Clair and Gordon commercial area and be renamed to Route 96 Victoria to run from Woodlawn Smart Centre in the north to Clair and Gordon in the south, using the entirety of Victoria. This route would run every 20 minutes during the day and every 30 minutes at all of the times. With the introduction of the Route 96 Victoria, Route 5 Goodwin would be converted to service the South End residential area. This route would run every 30 minutes and would service the new high school proposed at the Arkell and Victoria intersection. As well, with the introduction of the Route 97 along Clairfields Drive, Route 16 would be removed from Clairfields and would no longer have branches. Instead, every trip would service the southern portion of Southgate Drive. Lastly, Route 15 University College would be renamed to Route 15 Stone College and the route that travels in the opposite direction would be introduced called Route 25 College Stone. It would run every 30 minutes.
Year 10 is dependent on the construction of the new transit hub on Gordon in the Clair-Maltby Secondary Plan area. When it's built, Routes 5 Goodwin, 16 Southgate, 19 Hanlon Creek, 96 Victoria, 97 Edinburgh, and 99 Mainline would be extended to this hub. Route 19 would also have its schedule modified to run every 20 minutes during the day, Monday to Saturday, and every 40 minutes evenings and Sundays.
So what's next? We’re looking for your feedback. We want to know what his plan works for you and what challenges you see. From your feedback, we’ll spend the next few months refining the concept to ensure the best network to meet the needs of Guelph. We'll then present this refined concept to Council for consideration in November this year.
End of Presentation
That is the whole presentation, and I will be stopping sharing my screen, so that Tracy can start asking me questions.
Question and Answer Period - Tracy Suerich and Andrea Mikkila
Tracy: Hi, so, I don’t think we’ve got any questions coming in yet, but that was a quick presentation to run through an awful lot of information, so I'm sure people are still processing. We've got some links up in the chat to direct them over to ‘Have Your Say’ to find out some more information if they need to talk about, or look into, specific routes. I can ask you some questions to get things rolling.
Tracy: Well, so, my job as an Engagement Coordinator is making sure that we’re talking to the whole of the community and listening to all the different views that we can seek out to help us form proper plans. So, how are we making sure that we hear from equity seeking groups and from the students since school is out?
Andrea: Yes, there's been challenges due to COVID since we can't speak directly to transit customers. Although, we have reached out to equity seeking groups to help us spread the word and encourage participation as much as possible. We're working directly with the university to have a communication go out to their students as well.
Tracy: Awesome. Has consideration been made to increase service in low-income areas to get them to key destinations, like grocery stores and main employment areas?
Andrea: Yes, grocery stores and employment areas were identified early on in the planning process to ensure every neighbourhood has a proper connection to those locations. That being said, if you feel we missed something, please let us know.
Tracy: We do have a question coming in on WebEx from Robin. “Why have we decided to create a long-term 10-year plan, presumably instead of releasing things a little bit quicker?”
Andrea: Yes, so this is part of the Navigating Our Future pillar of our Strategic Plan that seeks to improve connectivity of the transportation network. Ultimately, the transit network, we need to grow it in order to achieve a lot of our goals, but with that, comes budget constraints and other sorts of limitations, such as a pandemic, and so we're proposing something that can be phased in over time. From feedback, if it's really clear that we should be doing this in a quicker fashion that is something that we would pursue further.
Tracy: Okay, I've got another question from WebEx, and questions are rolling in now, so we're getting to it. “Can you please elaborate more on that Kortright East extension in year 8. What are the plans regarding usage of Zaduk Place, and how often would buses be running? What would be the hours? Zaduk Place is already a traffic disaster,” says this person, “and doesn't have the infrastructure for buses. This is a residential area and not a main artery.” So they're just wondering why are buses going through residential areas?
Andrea: So our service target is to service 90% of people and jobs within four hundred metres of a bus stop. We explored the possibility of the route travelling on Kortright Road East and along Zaduk as well because this target is not met in that area. We have received feedback on the proposed route, and if it's something the neighbourhood doesn't want, then we wouldn't pursue it further.
Tracy: Okay and over from Facebook, “There appears to be a large gap between increasing Sunday service 7:15 a.m. to 10:15 p.m. in year 2, Route 99.” Are you following me? “Year 3, 98 Speedvale, and year 9, with Route 96 Victoria, would the on-demand bus be useful to help fill in the gaps in between years and times or are there other routes that would see an increase before year 9?” There's a lot of information in that, did you-?
Andrea: I think I got it.
Tracy: Okay, shoot.
Andrea: Essentially, Sunday service, we’ve tried to provide some level of increased service with the core routes, but yes, the 96 and 97 aren't introduced until much later in the plan. It's partly just limitations of what we’re able to implement, but if it's something that we hear in the feedback that really needs to be introduced, then it's something we can look into more.
Andrea: Oh, and I missed the on-demand part. So it's not presented, but there is a lot of opportunity to explore how we can use on-demand to increase our service and coverage area.
Tracy: Right, okay, another one from WebEx. “Community Living, a place, was left without service at a prior transit routing change. It took several months to correct this oversight. Has Community Living been included in all the multiple route changes presented this evening?
Andrea: I'm not familiar with where that location is. If I were told where it is, I could probably give a better answer.
Tracy: I'm sure this person is going to fill us in a little bit more. Thank you very much for flagging. This is something that we want to do through this engagement process, is to find out where those gaps are, where those important places are.
Oh, “Royal and Speedvale,” the person says.
Andrea: Oh, yes, there would be a lot of improvements, actually, in that area. The Route 98 Speedvale would be introduced, probably the earliest, would be the conventional service introduced in that area. As well, the Route 20 would service that area as of year 5 of the plan. Also, as we've mentioned, there is a community bus that's been introduced as on-demand, and we've been receiving feedback regularly of stop locations that are deemed really important to the community. So, that's something we could also look at in the short-term.
Tracy: Great, so as I was starting to say, this is the sort of feedback that is really going to be valuable as we tweak the routes. So, this person, S. J., please go over to ‘Have Your Say’, download the route review in detail, and have a look and find out, if you can, where the service is, when it's coming in, and tell us what you think. If it's early enough, timing, everything is on the table.
Okay, Facebook, “The passenger traffic on the proposed 19 Route is increasing. Currently, the on-demand service regularly makes trips to pick up passengers at shift change times. For example, 11 to 11:30 p.m. These workers will need transportation at this time. To stop service across the Hanlon after peak service times would be a great hardship on these workers.” Very good point.
Andrea: So, the Route 19 Hanlon is being introduced with the same standard service hours of the entire system, which is 5:45 a.m. to 12:15 a.m., Monday to Saturday, and 9:15 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. on Sundays. So, the only time that there would be that gap would be on Sundays, which basically the entire system has that limitation, but it's something we can explore further as well.
Tracy: Great. Okay, another one has come through Facebook. Just popped in a second ago. “Although the network greatly expands service, there are places where additional transfers may be required, which could increase journey time. More information is needed on the planned route interlining, which could eliminate some of these. For example, Route 5, 16, and 19. Would these be placed on a future version of the network map?”
Andrea: Yes, I'm assuming they're referring to year 9. So, the introduction of the Clair-Maltby Hub is anticipated sometime around 2031, and that's when we would extend routes to that area, to that Hub, so that all of our routes are able to kind of connect at an actual hub location, which is a little bit more out of the way than Clair Road. This is why we are looking into the possibility of those industrial express routes that would allow for very specialized direct routes to employers and the Route 5 is also intended to provide that bi-directional service in that neighbourhood that it currently doesn't have. I think that, I hope that, covered everything.
Tracy: I'm sure they'll let us know if there's any outstanding questions on that one.
Okay, and from WebEx, “How does Guelph plan to encourage current non-riders to hop on the buses?” Growing our transit, that's what it's all about.
Andrea: So, through our initial surveys, the question we asked is: “What would encourage you to take transit?” and a lot of it would just be better service in their neighbourhood, like more direct service, more frequent service. So this network does provide more direct service; it provides service in both directions, and many, many routes are increasing the service. Most routes that only run every 30 minutes, currently, are being increased to 20 minutes during the peaks.
Tracy: I’m not seeing anymore comments coming in. I'm looking at a couple of different venues here, so just give me a second. In the meantime, let’s pull another one. Ah, is there any way to link Guelph Transit with Grand River Transit?
Andrea: So, this is something that we have looked into before. I'm going to pull up my actual information on that so I give you the right answer for that. So, there's been consideration outside the scope of this plan to connect Guelph Transit and GRT. It is subject to budget approval and some of the outcomes of COVID-19, so it's something that we're still kind of looking into how feasible it is, but it is something that's on our radar.
Tracy: Okay, is there a plan to improve reliability along with all the route changes? Sometimes buses are cancelled or delayed and that causes problems with getting people to hop on the buses. We need to be able to rely on it; what are we planning to do?
Andrea: Yes, we're looking at improving reliability. Moving forward, Guelph Transit aims to hire spare operators and have spare buses in the case of a driver calling in sick or a bus breaking down. We also have analyzed the actual speeds our buses are actually travelling to ensure the schedule times are accurate. As well, transit priority measures are recommended through the in-progress Transportation Master Plan, which has been, kind of, getting a lot of public, public- why can’t I think of words?
Tracy: Public attention?
Andrea: Public attention! Yeah, that’s the word I’m looking for! So, there's a lot of things that we've been looking at in increasing reliability.
Tracy: Okay, still see nothing... This is the quietest Facebook chat I think I've ever been part of. I think there's a lot of information for people to digest, and I don't blame them. I've been working on this project with you for a number of months, and I still can't get my head around all the changes and all the implications it means. So I want to encourage everybody please do go to haveyoursay.guelph.ca/routereview, but you can find it on the main part of the website and download that. There's a summary document that just kind of gives you the highlights of what the changes are and when they're coming, or when they're proposed to be coming, and what the proposed changes are. There's also an in-depth guide: it's a couple of hundred pages long, and it goes through every single route in every single year with timelines and schedules and where turn-by-turn things are changing, so it is really comprehensive. Again, it’ll take you a long time to digest, but if these routes are important to you and you need to understand exactly where Route 16 travels when, go there, have a look, get your head around it, and then tell us what you think. There’s a survey there, and there's also a question-and-answer section where you can just ask us out right, like ‘I don't understand what's going on. Please tell me what's going on with Route 16 in year 3. Explain it to me better.’ Whatever you need to know. Andrea is monitoring those questions and getting answers as fast as she can.
Andrea: Are there any new questions, or I've been reminded of something by a colleague.
Tracy: Oh, I’ve got one.
Tracy: “Is the electrification of the fleet considered in this exciting new plan?” We’re getting excited and electrified!
Andrea: So, technically the electrification isn't part of this plan, but it is part of this plan. We haven't really looked at exactly what the buses would need to do as they're electrified, but we are moving forward with the electrification.
Tracy: Okay, and another one. “With the increased number of routes, has there been consideration to increase the length of transfer time? Currently it's only valid for 1 hour.”
Andrea: Yep, so anything fare related or transfer related is not part of this plan, but there is the goal of, in the future, very soon in the future, to look more into those very specific things to ensure that everything is lining up.
Tracy: There's a lot of work going on in the background to make this thing happen. You were reminded of something? What do you need to tell us?
Andrea: Yes, I was just reminded of, I think you covered it a little bit at the beginning, but basically, this is listed as a 10-year plan, and there's a certain order that things are recommended to be introduced. There are a lot of options within this plan; if there is something that makes more sense to start earlier, that's something we can pursue. If we want to do things shorter, longer, if we want to reorder anything, there is a lot of flexibility there.
Tracy: Yeah, putting it out sooner means budget has to come sooner, so there's always a little weigh and balance, but then again, whatever is important to make the city great and move around and to help the environment, you know, we need to look into all those. So that's what we need to hear from the community to help us really shape this to be the right plan for Guelph.
“Would it be possible to switch the transfer barcode to a QR code, which scans a lot better than barcodes on transfers?”
Andrea: I am not particularly familiar with those items, but I do see some of my colleagues who are a little more familiar with this. If any of them want to send me an instant message to give me a better idea… and if we can't get an answer tonight that's something that we can also find an answer for soon.
Tracy: That is something I want to say. So all these questions that are coming in tonight, we’ll be posting the question as well as the answer on haveyoursay.guelph.ca/routereview. So that we can sort of capture them and share these questions that you're asking, other people might be asking the same question, so we want to share those answers for the world.
Anything coming in or should I pick another question?
Andrea: They’re still typing away, so we can circle back. Oh! Yeah, basically, we're always looking at better ways to service and for different efficiencies, so if the EFMS allows for things like adjustments to QR codes, it’s something that we want to look into.
Tracy: Innovation. Always looking for innovation.
Okay, the great north-south divide in Guelph. How is this new plan connecting the north and the south better?
Andrea: I would say that's probably through the core routes, so the 99, currently, is our main north-south route that goes from the Woodlawn Smart Centre all the way down Clair and Gordon. It stops in at the University and Guelph Central Station on the way, and it runs, outside of COVID times, every 10 minutes. That provides a really frequent level of service, but that's the only one really that does that, but we're proposing to have the Route 96 and 97 that travel along Edinburgh and Victoria, which are other two major north-south arteries.
Tracy: Great, Guelph is going to be connected.
We got a nice comment on Facebook. “Not a question but a positive comment. The shortening and elimination of one-way loops on various routes will help make transit more attractive.” I agree, and I know that the loops were something that you looked into a lot.
Tracy: Actually, was there a new route added so that we'd actually have two-way service. What route was that?
Andrea: That was the 13 and the 23. I think that’s the 13 and 23 that you’re thinking of? In the east end?
Andrea: Yeah, so right now, the Route 13 does like a loop on Eramosa, along Hadati Road, and onto Auden. Then there's the Route 17 and 18 that kind of cover off like the outer portion, but this route, the 13 and 23, would cover a lot of the same roads that those routes currently cover, while still connecting people to the grocery stores on Eramosa or the Angelino’s at Elizabeth and Stephenson.
Tracy: Mhm, that's important. Okay, one from a staff member.
Andrea: Oh, dear.
Tracy: “What route are you most excited about implementing?”
Andrea: Oh, that's a tough one…
Tracy: You don’t have a pet route? Where every time you look at it you go, “Oh that’s so exciting!”
Andrea: I have a few of those. Yeah, I guess I’m really excited about the ones that are bidirectional, so the route 10 Paisley, it just makes so much sense to me. If you live on the eastern part of Paisley Road, just before the Hanlon, you have to basically ride all the way downtown if you want to go back to the last part of that route. That just sounds very unpleasant to me, so this removes that kind of backtracking as well. Also, I really like the 96 and 97. I just like the idea of getting somewhere quickly in a very direct way.
Tracy: Okay, so this isn't from anybody in the audience, and it’s not one of our planned questions, but you are a transit user yourself: have you ridden all of the current routes?
Andrea: I think I've ridden everything except some of the university routes. Before the pandemic started, we were going out monthly with a set of routes and riding them around, asking questions of passengers, and just kind of getting an idea of it. Before, my route was the Route 4. I'd come in from Kitchener and I’d catch the Route 4, take it to Guelph Transit and back in the afternoon, and head back to Kitchener.
Tracy: Okay, questions have dried up. I think, like we talked about, everybody's stewing it over. Oh, okay, do you want to-?
Andrea: Yep, just being asked to remind everyone that they can try out our two on-demand pilot projects that are going on right now. We have the Community On-Demand that runs to many key locations in the city and runs, actually, whenever it needs to run from 8:30 to 4:30, Monday to Saturday, I believe. There is the Hanlon On-Demand, which covers the Hanlon industrial area and the Hanlon Creek Business Park, which, prior to this route introduction, didn't have any service.
Tracy: We really want the community's feedback on these routes. Something great that I want to say we're trying, but we put a lot of thought into using on-demand service. Oh, “download the app and have a fun ride,” they say. Why not? Give it a go! Get to know areas of the city that you haven't been to before. Now’s the time.
Okay I have popped into the chat a reminder for everybody to visit haveyoursay.guelph.ca/routereview. We’ve taken all the questions that we have today and we’ll use them as part of the analysis of the proposed plan, but also, there's an in-depth survey and more chances if something else pops into your head afterwards. This is open until June 20th, have I got that right? I should know. So right up through then and I mean, frankly, we like the community’s comments all year round, but we're really looking to hear from you during this time period so that we can propose the best transit system possible for the community. Something Council can endorse knowing that the community feedback has been part of this plan. So that's our hope, that's where the public comes in, haveyoursay.guelph.ca/routereview is the place to go.
Andrea: Our general manager is saying, “Don't hesitate in contacting our management team for answers to your questions.”
Tracy: Oh, they just opened the door. But yeah, we're very approachable here at the City of Guelph and we want to hear people's questions, concerns, comments, because our reason for existence is to make this place a great place to live and we don't know what that's like until you tell us, right? Yeah, all of us are here with open ears.
Scanning to see if there's anything I've missed in any of the chats... I want to thank our magic helpers behind the scenes, keeping us on track and in touch with all of the chats going on. Couldn't do it without you. I think we're up to date. What do you want to do Andrea? We can call it a night.
Andrea: Yeah, we can maybe sit for two more minutes, just in case anybody just has a random thought in their head and then yeah, we can probably call it a night.
Tracy: Okay, let me see if I can dig up one more question, just to keep the air moving. Ah, scheduling transit to align with GO trains. Tell us about the trials and tribulations of trying to- cause it makes sense to make the buses match the train schedules. Tell us about the process there.
Andrea: Yeah, so Guelph Transit has looked into the possibility of aligning with GO train service in the past, and we faced a few challenges. Primarily, GO trains don't run on a consistent schedule, whereas our routes do. Therefore, we can usually align perfectly with some of the trains but not others. This is where additional service frequency can really help, and we also are often unable to make changes in time, based on GO train schedule adjustments, since our schedule periods are different from theirs.
Tracy: Oh, something else did pop into Facebook. See, you knew if we gave them time, there’d be more. “Where would the transit priority measures be placed?”
Andrea: So, I believe, it's still kind of in that very early phase, but the in-progress Transportation Master Plan identifies a quality transit network. I can't remember exactly which ones they are identifying, but it's a lot of the main arterials that the routes are travelling on that are being considered, in some way.
Tracy: I am not seeing any more come in, but that doesn't mean people don't have questions. Maybe they’re just holding them back. Maybe they'll send them to haveyoursay.guelph.ca/routereview.
Do you want to go over the next steps again, just before we close up?
Andrea: Yeah, so I will remind myself what those are. So, yeah, the survey is open till June 20th for feedback on all of the many, many proposed changes in this plan, and then we'll spend the next few months refining the network to reflect those comments. Then we will present this refined concept to Council in November this year for consideration. Then from there, we will see.
Tracy: I hope silence means support. Support or thinking about your questions. You guys have no idea how exciting it is to work at the City of Guelph and be able to propose something that's going to make big changes to people's lives, to get them more connected with the community around them. We’re excited, and every piece of feedback helps us to make it the right plan. That's what we want. One that works.
Oh, we got a comment from WebEx. Apparently, I missed it. Thank you, helper. I don't see it…
Andrea: Is it Robin's?
Tracy: Oh here we go, here we go. No, from B.S. “Hi! I also am having a similar problem with Guelph Transit not aligning with GO buses’ schedules.” With the buses, not just the trains. Yeah, is it the same problem with the buses?
Andrea: I think so, I think, right now, a lot of the service is bus instead of train. I haven't used it since the pandemic started, so I'm not quite familiar with it right now. The hope is that, with increased frequency on our routes, that even if we don't align exactly, there is more flexibility in the schedules.
Tracy: I think that is everything. Well thank you, Andrea, for the presentation and all the work that you and your team have put into this and everybody across the city and all of our advisors. I don’t know, there must be hundreds of hands that have touched this plan and here you are, the face tonight, presenting it. So I'm going to thank you, but it means to everyone.
Yeah we will talk to everybody again next Wednesday. We have another town hall, so spread the word. Please tell your friends and family what an exciting presentation it is. I laugh, but the outcome is exciting. It can be a little dry going through route by route, change by change, but it's all an important part of getting us to this wonderful vision of a thriving transit system for Guelph. So tell your friends, tell your family. We want to hear from everybody, even if you don't take the bus. We want to hear from you because there are insights that you can have in your normal moving around Guelph ways that can be really valuable to us. So, everybody get online, haveyoursay.guelph.ca/routereview. Fill out a survey, ask us a question, find more information, watch another video. It’s all there for you. I think we will end the show now.
Andrea: Okay, thank you, everybody.