Wel­land Tran­sit sets ear­lier hours

Early morn­ing rid­er­ship has in­creased by 400 per cent; new hours in ef­fect Jan. 6

The Welland Tribune - - Front Page - KRIS DUBÉ

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.

LAURA BAR­TON THE WEL­LAND TRI­BUNE

Wel­land Tran­sit ter­mi­nal: Buses will be rolling out ear­lier in the new year.

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