GuelphToday received the following letter lamenting the loss of the community bus during COVID-19.
I moved to Guelph in October 2018. My sons wanted reassurance that transportation was close at hand. We were pleased that the former community bus stop was less than a block from my residence.
What was called the community bus in 2018 was removed during COVID because of "limited ridership." Yet, I witness other buses in my area going by the stops with the same "limited ridership."
I am a senior with invisible disabilities. Many others relying on this bus have visible disabilities. The bus drivers knew their riders, often by name.
VON, a valuable resource, provides transportation to medical appointments. Rides are not guaranteed because of a high demand. They do their upmost to take care of their clients but sometimes they are unable to do so. When they are unable, on-demand or mobility then do not have enough lead time to arrange transportation.
On-demand and mobility transit use buses that have little in the way of ‘shocks.’ These bus rides are painful for those of us with mhe edical conditions. Invisible disabilities make taking transit more challenging. The former community bus lessened those challenges. Transfers at the Guelph Central Station were safe and easy. Transfers at the University Hub, if missed by seconds, as happened to me at dusk one evening, meant that I did not feel safe as I stood alone in the area for 20 minutes.
In closing, I want to thank the staff at city hall who arrange on-demand, mobility services, and those planning trips. I want to thank the bus drivers assigned to both services. I also want to thank the drivers on the route of the former community bus. They made my transition to Guelph as a newly widowed senior much easier. I have been treated with kindness, patience and understanding by all staff and by all bus drivers.
My hope is that those making transit decisions will consider putting the former community bus back on the road again.
Mary I. James