Compared with other North American cities with similar population size, Burlington’s existing public transit services are generally okay. However, if considering the top-ranked city in terms of the highest quality of life in Canada, there is still considerable room for improvement. For a fast-growing city with a geographic location in the Toronto and Hamilton metropolitan areas, a public transit system is by no means optional but is an important part of city function.
Improvements to Burlington’s existing public transit are not limited to the Burlington Transit but also related to Go Train, Go Bus, Oakville Transit, Hamilton Transit, Burlington Taxi, Via Train, Toronto/Hamilton/Buffalo airport shuttle buses. For the improvement of a public transit system, it is necessary to understand who the passenger groups are, how often and how much to use public transit services, what are the passengers’ expectations, where are the obstacles to the ridership, and the provincial and regional master plan on transit, also the budget.
For the citizens of Burlington, the most used services are Go Transit and Burlington Transit. The following aspects of the problem I believe should be given priority:
Running buses every hour could discourage people from taking a bus. Buses must be more frequent. Running every 20 minutes maximum at rush hours and 30 minutes the rest of day for a start, and then reduced and waiting time to 15 minutes (rush hours)/20 minutes in the next stage. For potential riders, longer than 30 minutes waiting time means no bus. The achieve better service, Burlington Transit must attract more ridership instead of only focuses on the core riders.
As a year-round passenger of a Burlington bus and Go train, I understand that each time the Go and Burlington transit schedule changes will affect a large number of commuters like me. We will regret to see the time when the bus arrives at the Go station. the previous train has left or the time the passengers get off the train, the bus has already left. Even during peak hours, some of the routes are still set to 30-minute intervals. An unreasonable timetable can cause a large number of passengers’ time to be wasted waiting. The scientific and rational establishment of bus schedules will bring great convenience to passengers.
Holiday bus services are particularly important for families and senior citizens, and bus service can also reduce some of the drunk driving. Since this may increase the operating costs of the Burlington Transit, it is necessary to promote the bus services to increase the revenue, together with topics such as environmental protection. This is especially true for elderly people and young people who have not reached the age of driving.
Burlington has Canada’s largest RibFest in summer. Have we ever had the painful experience of not finding a parking space? Our family once had a more than 20-minute walk from the parking lot to RibFest. For a round-trip between parking and RibFest, my family needs to spend more than 50 minutes. The convenience of driving was consumed by parking difficulties. We just had the free shuttle on Canada Day. It is a great opportunity to encourage of using public transit.
I have been a passenger of Burlington Transit since 2004. Witnessed the changes of many routes. Especially routes 11, 12 and 15. The route 15 runs on circle A and B and shortens the operation time. The route 15 changed from Sutton to Appleby northbound. These changes will affect ridership. Route settings should match the new residential areas and commercial facilities in the city.
Ideally, seniors at 70+ should get free rides, same for the elementary students. The suggestion was rejected in the past. Then, a discount to maintain low financial burden to people who are not at the working age should be considered. Or free services only at non-rush hours. The goal is to attract more people to take buses.
Our bus routes have covered a wide range of communities, commercial centers, schools, and medical centers. For schools, medical centers, community centers, we must consider the special needs of passengers.
A regional service is suggested to improve the accessibility. Also, transfer locations with other transit/paratransit systems should be clearly informed to the eligible users.
There are rooms for improvement to our public transit. Please share your experiences and suggestions.