RSS Feed for This PostCurrent Article

Wheels come off Fort Erie transit

Nothing so accurately, simply and readily illustrates Fort Erie Transit as does the Town of Fort Erie’s own logo for the new “enhanced service.”

The blue and green wheels have flown off the bus which has skidded to a halt sideways on the street — by the looks of it, I’d say Dominion Road — and you can’t tell which way to go.

On behalf of the Town, I’m going to nominate this for the next marketing award in the “Accidental Truth in Graphic Communications” category.

The Town plunged riders into chaos when it rolled out the new routes and schedule on Oct. 2. The new service has resulted in longer trip times and higher fares. The eight-inch square map is incomprehensible, the schedule is irregular and counter-intuitive. The routes bypass some known popular locations, serves areas where there has been no demand for service, and forces riders to sit and wait on an idling bus or in the parking lot at the Leisureplex for up to 12 minutes of what used to be a 15 to 20-minute trip for some.

The new “enhanced service” makes it more difficult for people to shop, more difficult to catch a bus and forces them to walk longer distances.

There are two improvements: Stevensville is now on the transit map, and service starts about half an hour earlier and ends about an hour later. It still operates six days a week and still excludes holidays. That’s the good news.

The bad news is ridership has plummeted. There’s no data yet, but anecdotally, I’d be surprised if there are more than half the passengers using the bus in my observations of 15 days of multiple trips in the first four weeks. I paid $82.50 and 60 hours of time. The bus once again has become my very last travel option in the Town of Fort Erie.

There’s more bad news. It also costs taxpayers more. The contract with Can-Ar Coach of Concorde, Ont., costs the Town approximately $700,000 a year, an increase from around $400,000, or about 1.3 per cent on the local property tax bill.

There’s more to come, but I can’t write this up as a straight news story. I ride the bus, rely on it to some extent, and I warned Town Council twice in public meetings this spring and in numerous emails to members this summer and fall. I will relate to you what I said then, my observations and experiences of the past month and some recommendations.

(First in a series)

 

 

Trackback URL

RSS Feed for This PostPost a Comment