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Guelph Transit
#1
Is there no other forum topic for this? Anyway...

http://www.guelphmercury.com/news-story/...h-transit/

To get to a 1.58% tax increase, Guelph Transit is going to boost cash fares by 33%, ticket fares by 17%, passes by 7%, and affordable passes by 7% as well.

Also, service for Sundays, holidays, and summer (May-Aug or Jul-Aug?) will be reduced from every 30 minutes to every 60 minutes.

So if you are taking transit to work, during summer, you can expect that each day of the week you'll need another 15 minutes for your trip to and trip from work. If there's a transfer, another 15 minutes on average as well. You'll probably want to budget even more time in advance of your bus, to be sure you don't miss it. So for an 8h workday, we'd see you spending 45min to 1h+ extra each summer day. This is a great plan if you want to kill transit and further marginalize the lives of anyone dependent on it.
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#2
Well that's pretty terrible.

So basically, if you have a job year round (so basically every adult), you really will not be able to rely on the bus.
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#3
You have to remember that this is a draft budget. And its the kind of draft you get when Council requests a budget with a lower than reasonable tax increase and also refuses to say any services should be cut.

I don't think it makes sense to do a city wide reduction in service throughout the Summer - but the frequency should be based somewhat on ridership. And I'm sure in the Summer ridership does go down quite a lot - students are gone and people are more likely to ride their bike or walk.
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#4
Guelph's bus schedule is absolutely horrible. When I lived in Guelph, I tried it one day to get to work. 10 minute drive... 2.5 hour bus ride.
For daily ion construction updates, photos and general urban rail news, follow me on twitter! @Canardiain
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#5
I love that the answer to "lower than anticipated" ridership growth and revenues is to reduce service frequency and raise fares. How does that even make sense?
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#6
I know a lot of members on this board don't like to hear it - but more and cheaper transit doesn't always mean more profitable or affordable transit.  Sometimes a level of service isn't affordable and cutting costs / increasing revenue is the sensible option.

So if the demand isn't there for a particular level of service - sometimes the level of service needs to be reduced.  That obviously means less overall ridership - but it may mean a much more efficient system.

Increasing (or even maintaining) the absolute amount of ridership is not the only goal here.

I have no idea what the actual numbers in Guelph indicate - but cutting service where there isn't the expected demand makes a lot of sense in some situations.
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#7
(11-09-2015, 02:18 PM)SammyOES Wrote: I know a lot of members on this board don't like to hear it - but more and cheaper transit doesn't always mean more profitable or affordable transit.  Sometimes a level of service isn't affordable and cutting costs / increasing revenue is the sensible option.

So if the demand isn't there for a particular level of service - sometimes the level of service needs to be reduced.  That obviously means less overall ridership - but it may mean a much more efficient system.

Increasing (or even maintaining) the absolute amount of ridership is not the only goal here.

I have no idea what the actual numbers in Guelph indicate - but cutting service where there isn't the expected demand makes a lot of sense in some situations.

That's one thing to say when we're talking about whether a route should have 7 or 10 or 15 minute service, or whether fares should be closer to Ottawa's or closer to Toronto's.

It's completely another when you're talking about making service once an hour - all but unusable - and yet making fares higher than any major city in the country. If hourly is the best you can do, then you have truly given up on transit being usable by anyone, resigned to letting a very conservative/low tax mayor/council members try to gut it into an unusable morass that they would soon as well completely get rid of.
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#8
(11-09-2015, 02:18 PM)SammyOE Wrote: I have no idea what the actual numbers in Guelph indicate - but cutting service where there isn't the expected demand makes a lot of sense in some situations.

I have yet to see one. Usually you end up driving emptier buses with much more subsidized passengers. It is in fact better to drop some routes altogether and keep the rest going. This has been proven time and time again.
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#9
(11-09-2015, 02:18 PM)SammyOES Wrote: Increasing (or even maintaining) the absolute amount of ridership is not the only goal here.

I don't think it's even among the goals in this case.

They're not discussing cutting service on some routes because the demand doesn't exist; staff are proposing a broad cut to service based on a requirement by council not to increase the transit levy. And, at the same time, increasing fares for the same reason.

No other mode of transportation besides transit is treated like this. You don't have city staff coming and saying "okay, to keep to your desired 1.58% tax increase, we need to cut the subsidy to roads, and increase congestion charges."

I'm not saying transit should be free to the user. But to refuse to increase the tax subsidy to transit while other costs are going up is unrealistic. And the goal (among others) is ridership while being financially sustainable: increasing fares while broadly decreasing service does not serve either goal.
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#10
(11-09-2015, 02:27 PM)BuildingScout Wrote:
(11-09-2015, 02:18 PM)SammyOE Wrote: I have no idea what the actual numbers in Guelph indicate - but cutting service where there isn't the expected demand makes a lot of sense in some situations.

I have yet to see one. Usually you end up driving emptier buses with much more subsidized passengers. It is in fact better to drop some routes altogether and keep the rest going. This has been proven time and time again.

I'd be interested in seeing that data.  I know lots of people that would rather a 1 hour bus on their route than nothing.  And I'd argue that you just pointed out a situation where cutting service when there isn't the expected demand makes sense.  Dropping routes is cutting service too.

I totally agree that the across the board cuts in service that are being reported don't make sense.  Like I said earlier, it should be based on actual ridership.
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#11
(11-09-2015, 02:35 PM)MidTowner Wrote:
(11-09-2015, 02:18 PM)SammyOES Wrote: Increasing (or even maintaining) the absolute amount of ridership is not the only goal here.

I don't think it's even among the goals in this case.

Agreed.  I should have said "shouldn't be the only goal".  

(11-09-2015, 02:35 PM)MidTowner Wrote: They're not discussing cutting service on some routes because the demand doesn't exist; staff are proposing a broad cut to service based on a requirement by council not to increase the transit levy. And, at the same time, increasing fares for the same reason.

It's a little from column A and a little from column B.  The cuts are motivated by an unreasonable requirement from council.  But the cuts they're proposing are also ones that are aimed at making transit more cost efficient.

(11-09-2015, 02:35 PM)MidTowner Wrote: No other mode of transportation besides transit is treated like this. You don't have city staff coming and saying "okay, to keep to your desired 1.58% tax increase, we need to cut the subsidy to roads, and increase congestion charges."

I'm not saying transit should be free to the user. But to refuse to increase the tax subsidy to transit while other costs are going up is unrealistic. And the goal (among others) is ridership while being financially sustainable: increasing fares while broadly decreasing service does not serve either goal.

What are the numbers on the comparative subsidies?  My guess would be that other forms of transit are not being subsidized as much as buses on a per-user basis. (And even if true - that might be ok because public transit is 'better' in many different senses).
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#12
(11-09-2015, 02:42 PM)SammyOES Wrote: I know lots of people that would rather a 1 hour bus on their route than nothing.  

These routes are pure social services. In a lot of cases, a city that is offering these routes, with the kind of ridership they would generate, would be better scrapping its transit and issuing taxi vouchers for low-income residents.

Seriously. A bus that passes by once an hour is useless to anyone except those with very limited other options. Those buses are going to carry a handful of passengers at levels of efficiency worse than passenger cars. I don't think Guelph is the type of city that should have service like that, probably anywhere it can justify any service at all.
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#13
(11-09-2015, 02:35 PM)MidTowner Wrote: No other mode of transportation besides transit is treated like this. You don't have city staff coming and saying "okay, to keep to your desired 1.58% tax increase, we need to cut the subsidy to roads, and increase congestion charges."

That's not entirely true. Road construction projects are often deferred for budgetary reasons. This is how we end up with the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of backlog that we have in Waterloo Region.
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#14
(11-09-2015, 02:46 PM)SammyOES Wrote: What are the numbers on the comparative subsidies?  My guess would be that other forms of transit are not being subsidized as much as buses on a per-user basis. (And even if true - that might be ok because public transit is 'better' in many different senses).

Your cul-de-sac or suburban street is one of the most heavily subsidized roads. Very little traffic built at a cost of millions of dollars per mile. Each trip during the lifetime of the street costs about the same as a bus ticket for a much smaller travelled distance.
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#15
(11-09-2015, 02:46 PM)SammyOES Wrote: What are the numbers on the comparative subsidies?  My guess would be that other forms of transit are not being subsidized as much as buses on a per-user basis. (And even if true - that might be ok because public transit is 'better' in many different senses).

I think that would be a very complicated question to answer...

Guelph is calling for about a 2.5% decrease in the tax-supported budget for transit. I wonder if ridership will decrease even more than that proportion, actually increasing the subsidy per-user (and serving fewer users).
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