Fredericton Transit overhaul draws mixed reaction

A proposed overhaul of the city transit system in Fredericton drew mixed reaction from some of those in attendance at Tuesday's public meeting to unveil the changes.

Plan to drop some routes and increase frequency of service outlined at public meeting

Fredericton Transit is proposing an overhaul of its routes 1:32

A proposed overhaul of the city transit system in Fredericton drew mixed reaction from some of those in attendance at Tuesday's public meeting to unveil the changes.

Transit officials are looking to increase the frequency of bus runs and eliminate two-hour gaps in service at some times through the week.

To do so, they're proposing eliminating runs to Silverwood and Lincoln and shortening the run Lower St. Mary's.

Terry Spafford has been using Fredericton Transit for 10 years and welcomes hourly service under the proposed changes. (CBC)
Terry Spafford has been riding Bus 13 for 10 years to get from his home in the Nashwaaksis area to work on the south side of the St. John River. He welcomes the changes.

"The hourly service is something I've been looking forward to for a long time," said Spafford. "It's something I think has been lacking.

"There have been many times I've wanted to take a trip up to the mall and that, and I just look at the two-hour gap and it's like, 'I don't want to bother with that.' I'll just stay home or go local."

Jennifer Mawhinney lives in the Silverwood area and says she used to be an avid bus user, but wasn't able to use it from Silverwood because of gaps in service during the day, weekends and on Saturday.

With Silverwood being dropped from the transit map, the proposed changes don't work for her.

"It doesn't work for anybody that lives in my area, nor in Lincoln," she said. "It's being abandoned by the city, really."

Mawhinney would like to see an improved route that covers more of Silverwood and gives ridership on the route a chance to build. She's not hopeful of that happening.

Madeline Berrevoets doesn't think enough has changed to make using Fredericton Transit an option for her. (CBC)
"I'm getting the distinct feeling that the decision has already been made and they are just talking to us as a formality," she said.

Madeleine Berrevoets would like to use the bus system, but the current schedule doesn't allow her to get to work on time after taking her daughter to school.

From her perspective, not much has changed.

"I don't think they really made a lot of changes from the comments that are coming from people here today," she said. "It seems a little bit like they moved a couple things around here, cut this here, but it's not going to make a big difference."

Coun. John MacDermid chairs the city's transportation committee and knows the changes won't satisfy everyone, but hopes they address some of the biggest issues facing the service.

"Buses need to be reliable," said MacDermid. "They need to be consistent and predictable and by making these changes, hopefully we're going to get more bums on the seats on the buses."

Another open house on the proposed changes is set for Thursday from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m. at the Grant-Harvey Centre.

Proposed new transit routes. (Courtesy City of Fredericton)


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