Tran­sit riders speak out

Strat­ford bus riders discuss coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to make Downie Street tran­sit hub per­ma­nent

The Beacon Herald - - LOCAL NEWS - GALEN SIM­MONS STAFF RE­PORTER gsim­mons@post­media.com

In the wake of Strat­ford city coun­cil’s July 24 de­ci­sion to make what was orig­i­nally to be a tem­po­rary pub­lic tran­sit hub on Downie Street per­ma­nent, res­i­dents and bus-riders alike have been dis­cussing coun­cil’s choice of lo­ca­tion.

To get a sense of how reg­u­lar bus riders feel, The Bea­con Her­ald spent an hour Satur­day af­ter­noon chat­ting with riders at the Downie Street tran­sit hub, lo­cated in the east­ern­most park­ing lot at the Cooper Block.

Melissa and Serenity Robb

Melissa Robb and her in­fant daugh­ter Serenity Robb were trav­el­ling through­out Strat­ford Satur­day run­ning er­rands. Melissa Robb said she uses Strat­ford tran­sit as her pri­mary mode of trans­porta­tion and thinks coun­cil’s cho­sen lo­ca­tion for the hub is a lit­tle far-re­moved from down­town.

“I don’t nec­es­sar­ily agree with (coun­cil’s de­ci­sion). This is a park­ing lot and it’s busy, and it was bet­ter when it was down­town at City Hall,” Robb said.

She said that once the Cooper Site is de­vel­oped into a com­mu­nity hub, if that ever hap­pens, the tran­sit hub lo­ca­tion might make more sense. She pointed out, how­ever, that mov­ing the tran­sit hub back to City Hall might make things in that part of town a lit­tle too con­gested.

“But I still like City Hall be­cause that’s where ev­ery­body goes,” Robb said, ad­ding that, with Serenity in tow, walk­ing to and from down­town or catch­ing a sec­ond bus can be a bit of a chal­lenge.

Frank Gra­ham

Frank Gra­ham is also a reg­u­lar user of Strat­ford’s buses, but he agrees with coun­cil’s de­ci­sion to build up the Downie Street lo­ca­tion into a per­ma­nent tran­sit hub.

“I think it’s per­fect. First of all, we’re all getting used to it – I don’t want an­other change. The space is here, the buses aren’t crowded, they can move in and out no prob­lem, (and) there’s park­ing for the cars. What more do you want?” Gra­ham asked.

When the tran­sit hub was at City Hall, Gra­ham said he re­mem­bered times when the buses couldn’t move be­cause of traf­fic con­ges­tion.

“And any­body who gripes about walk­ing down­town from here is just be­ing silly,” Gra­ham laughed.

Paige Dill and Zack Crosson

Hav­ing moved away from Strat­ford af­ter fin­ish­ing high school, Zack Crosson was in town this week­end vis­it­ing his friend Paige Dill. Although Crosson, for ob­vi­ous rea­sons, doesn’t use city tran­sit much any­more, Dill is a reg­u­lar rider.

“(The lo­ca­tion) is a lit­tle stupid. It should be right down at City Hall still,” Dill said. “City Hall was bet­ter be­cause it’s eas­ier for ev­ery­body, right? The el­derly, there’s a lot of com­plaints from older peo­ple be­cause they’ve got to take the bus here and then they’ve got to take an­other one down there be­cause they can’t walk that dis­tance.

“I don’t like the added trip be­cause I’m lazy.”

Even though Crosson no longer lives in Strat­ford, he said he would pre­fer a more cen­trally lo­cated tran­sit hub.

“I like where it used to be right at City Hall be­cause I knew I could go down­town right from where I used to go to school (Strat­ford Cen­tral Sec­ondary School and Strat­ford North­west­ern Sec­ondary School) quite eas­ily. Now, if I were to go to school still, I’d have to walk all the way down here and I’d miss my bus ev­ery day.”

Even if the Cooper Site were to be de­vel­oped into a com­mu­nity hub at some point down the line, the pair said they would still rather see the tran­sit hub moved back to City Hall.

Melissa and Serenity Robb

Gra­ham Frank

Paige Dill and Zack Crosson

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