Fredericton bus route cancellations ignite campaign

Public transit riders in Fredericton who are about to lose their routes have started a campaign to try and get city council to reverse the decision.

Lincoln, Silverwood areas to lose city transit service in September

Looming end of transit routes upsets bus users. 1:30

Public transit riders in Fredericton who are about to lose their routes have started a campaign to try and get city council to reverse the decision.

Earlier this month, city council approved a plan that will cancel bus service to the Lincoln and Silverwood areas of the city, which have low ridership, in order to increase the frequency of runs in more heavily populated areas of the city.

James Terhune has started a Facebook group to campaign for the city transit route serving the Lincoln Heights area of Fredericton to be saved. (CBC)
About 100 people have joined a Facebook group called, "Save the Lincoln Bus," and are voicing their concerns and stating how the loss of the routes will affect them

James Terhune, who takes the No. 20 route to and from work every day, says the decision to drop the routes isn't fair.

"We're a one-car family and we chose the neighbourhood where we are because of the bus service," he said.

"I just felt bewildered, mostly," he said.

"Because for years they had been telling us to, 'Use it or lose it.' And yet we had been using it and there was data to show we had been using it, but we lost it anyway."

Terhune said there is "a lot of anger" in his neighbourhood over the decision.

"There are a lot of people in my situation. We bought in Lincoln Heights because it was on a bus route," he said.

"I mean, we paid extra to live in the city to have the services. And we will still be paying for them."

Coun. Scott McConaghy doesn't think its fair that some residents of his ward have to pay city taxes to help pay for the transit service, but they don't have access to the transit system if the Lincoln route is cancelled. (CBC)
​Coun. Scott McConaghy's ward includes the Lincoln area and voted against the change.

"We're supposed to be a green city, a smart city, and basically we're telling people you have to pay for the bus service in their taxes, and you have no access," said McConaghy.

McConaghy proposed a reduced service to Lincoln that preserved service for Lincoln during rush hour, but his idea didn't get the support of council.

Becky Bonnar says the loss of the Silverwood route will be a blow to her family as they were counting on bus service when they chose their new family home.

"We are down to one vehicle," she said.

"So he bikes in the summer and then in the winter he was going to be using the bus. That's not an option any more.

"We're a single income family and this is going to put a blow to our budget. So we're going to have to end up paying more for gas than what we really wanted to."

City officials say the decision has been made and refuse to make any further comment.

The change is scheduled to come into effect on the Tuesday after Labour Day.

New transit routes are to take effect on Sept. 2. (Courtesy City of Fredericton)


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