Passengers frustrated with city bus delays are being asked to be patient while data from the recent transit realignment is looked at and tweaks are being made to the system.
Mike Spicer, general manager of Guelph Transit, said the volume of traffic has always been a challenge in the city and is the reason for many of the delays, especially on the Gordon Street corridor.
“We can put more buses on there, but the traffic volume won’t alleviate. We’ll just have more buses getting caught in traffic,” said Spicer.
A transit realignment went into effect Sept. 3, which included some route and schedule changes, as well as the introcuction of the new 99 Mainline route.
Spicer said some tweaks are being made on the fly.
“With a combination of the route realignment, some construction and unfortunately we have had some accidents in the last little while, it has put our system at times into a little bit of a tailspin, but we’ve reacted out of it rather quickly,” he said.
Until buses in the city receive signal priority or queue-jump lanes, Spicer expects transit will continue to struggle with the volume of traffic.
So far, Guelph Transit has collected about three weeks worth of ridership data from which to identify problem areas to make the tweaks.
Although Spicer said some tweaks have already been made to the 99 Mainline route, Guelph Transit will need three to six months of data to work out all of the kinks.
“I think people need to adapt to it and get used to it. Once we can tweak some of the timing points, we will alleviate some of the frustration,” said Spicer.
He added, “we often say to people if you need to get somewhere and you have had some issues with timing because of that you may want to leave a little bit earlier or take another bus.”
Guelph Transit is not currently experiencing a driver shortage, said Spicer.
“No. The odd day we might have an operator who would call in sick but that’s not the reason we are having operational issues, because I have heard that rumour as well,” he said.
Drivers are doing their best to deal with all of the challenges, said Spicer, including angry customers.
Some delays, said Spicer, are completely out of their control.
“If there’s an accident or a detour for construction, that just plays havoc on our entire network. We are trying to react to that as quickly as possible — putting more buses out there isn’t going to help, it’s just going to stack those buses a lot more than they currently are,” he said.
Spicer said a 'high percentage' of complaints Guelph Transit is receiving are not totally accurate.
"Somebody will say the bus never showed. We can go back and check the GPS and see the bus actually did show, it just may have been a few minutes late,” said Spicer.
@guelphtransit is the 56U running this morning? My friends just had to get on the 5 because that was the only one that passed by— Maria (@even_bechnas) September 28, 2017
I watched for 99S at the Public library on Tues, and there were zero buses btwn 3:00-4:30PM, for 90 min! More congestion? @IamChiappett— C Brian Blac (@CBBlackadar) September 27, 2017