Lobby for Fredericton Sunday bus service grows

More than a dozen people in Fredericton have joined a lobby group to push for Sunday bus service in light of the new extended Sunday shopping hours.

Making Transit Work members say public transit needed with extended Sunday shopping hours

More than a dozen people in Fredericton have joined a lobby group to push for Sunday bus service in light of the new extended Sunday shopping hours.

Doug Mullin, who formed the group Making Transit Work last fall, says it's needed even more now that council voted earlier this month to allow store owners to set their own operating hours on Sundays.

Unlike the cities of Moncton and Saint John, Fredericton Transit only offers bus service from Monday to Saturday.

Members of the group say they'd like to see at least a trial Sunday service from October to December.

Ron Howse, who joined the group last week, contends Sunday transit would cost less than the city's estimate of $450,000 a year.

"It's my opinion, and what I'm going to put forward is, that we probably could do a 50-60 hour proposal on Sunday, five drivers, and that would amount to current budget rates, time-and-a-half, $106,000, $107,000," he said.

Howse believes a lack of Sunday service will put a strain on workers who rely on buses, and keep many shoppers out of stores.

Fredericton Mayor Brad Woodside has said the topic of a Sunday bus service has not been raised at council.

Under the previous rules, store owners were limited to operating between noon and 5 p.m. on Sundays.

But on Aug. 12, council passed a bylaw change, giving businesses the freedom to pick what hours they want to open.

The change follows a request by the Retail Council of Canada in February.