Welland Transit sets earlier hours
Early morning ridership has increased by 400 per cent; new hours in effect Jan. 6
Changes are coming to Welland transit — due in large to part to a 400 per cent increase in ridership of those using the system earlier in the day.
Residents who depend on municipal transit won’t have to worry as much about getting to their destination on time once changes take effect in the New Year.
Through an approval of council earlier this week, all routes will start at 6:30 a.m., not just the two 45-minute community routes that currently run through the northwest and southwest corners of the city before the rest of the system starts up for the day at 7:15 a.m.
The two community routes will be eliminated.
From Monday to Saturday, passengers will be picked up at 6:30 a.m., allowing those who depend on regional buses to make their connection at the Welland terminal at 7 a.m. for work or school.
A link in Port Colborne will also leave city hall at 6:30 a.m. to make its way to Welland.
The upcoming changes will save nine hours of service per week and create no additional cost, said Dave Stuart, the City of Welland’s transit manager.
It’s also been determined that route 504 (Fitch Street) can benefit through the cancellation of one of the Monday through Friday ’service breaks’, which consume five hours a week.
The Saturday evening service will end up being extended by 30
minutes to facilitate connections to Welland Transit from regional buses arriving at 9 p.m.
Also, Sunday service will grow by 30 minutes to provide enhanced options for residents travelling on this day, according to the report approved by council.
The early start is also a result of a 400 per cent increase of people using the transit system in the first three hours of the day, compared to during the last three hours of daily service.
“We know that ridership is on the move, and it’s on the move in the morning,” said Stuart, explaining that Brock University’s 8 a.m. start time and Niagara College’s classes beginning at 8:30 a.m. were also part of the consideration.
He also said there is a “tremendous amount of ridership” from Niagara Falls between both the college and university that needs to be addressed.
“It’s a very complex thing. There’s a lot of nuances and moving parts,” said Stuart, adding he was unable to elaborate further.
Starting all eight routes in Welland at the same time provides an equality to the coverage areas throughout the city, he feels.
“Everything can be more consistent throughout the day,” he said.
A new agreement with Port Colborne, which started in September, now allows 11 trips to and from Welland – two more than what was offered previously.
The changes will be implemented Jan. 6, 2019.
Welland Transit terminal: Buses will be rolling out earlier in the new year.