New Brunswick

Dieppe combats traffic congestion with better bus system

More frequent runs are planned on two routes, which will increase off-peak service to every 30 minutes, and the city will take part in a route-sharing pilot project with Moncton.

Plans include more frequent runs and improved off-peak service

Routes 93 and 95 will now run every 30 minutes during off-peak times, starting July 15. (CBC)

The City of Dieppe is trying to reduce traffic by making its bus service more attractive.

More frequent runs are planned on two routes, which will increase off-peak service to every 30 minutes, and the city will take part in a route-sharing pilot project with the Moncton bus service.

Luc Richard, who is responsible for public transit in Dieppe, said the city hopes the improvements will give people more options and make using public transport easier.

"It's significant improvement for people that are using those two routes, they are going to actually double the service," Richard said.

Overall ridership for the Moncton area increased by 1.8 per cent in 2017, but Richard said the increase is much higher in Dieppe, indicated by a revenue increase to $292,000 from $275,000.

The routes to be improved are 93 and 95, which run from Champlain Place to Dieppe Boulevard and from Champlain Place to Amirault Street and Fox Creek Road, respectively.

Robert Gillis, who has lived in Dieppe for 19 years, has a licence but doesn't own a car and uses the 93 bus five days a week to get to work at the Dieppe Industrial Park. 

Gillis said the bus only comes to the park during the morning and afternoon rush hours and not at all on the weekends. He and others who work weekends have to get off at the closest stop and walk anywhere from five to 20 minutes to get to their buildings.

"Having that service to the Dieppe Industrial Park is key," said Gillis, who welcomes the changes.

"I believe [they're] positive for the people who rely on the bus system."

Richard said the increased service is the result of new funding, which allows the city to keep its fourth bus on the road longer. Usually, it doesn't run between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. 

The pilot project with Codiac Transpo in Moncton combines the two independent routes, which means fewer transfers for Dieppe bus riders.

"So our bus will actually be going into Moncton, and the Moncton bus will actually be coming to Dieppe," Richard said.

Luc Richard said the changes to the Dieppe bus system will make it easier for users because there will be more frequent runs and fewer transfers. (Jennifer Choi)

Richard said this will make it easier for people from Dieppe to get to hospital and Université de Moncton.

Maxime Dubé, a student at Université de Moncton, said he uses his car to get around but would rather not.

"I'm someone that is really [an] environmentalist and I really would like to take the bus, but since I have a lot of places to travel and places to go when I volunteer I don't really have the time to follow the schedule of a bus," Dubé said.

Dubé said he's heard the bus is often late, which is another reason he uses his car for transportation.

He said the proposed changes to the Dieppe service make taking the bus more of a possibility, but he doesn't think his summer work schedule can accommodate public transit.

"It's something I would probably more consider for university when I would not need to transport a lot of things," he said.

"For university I only need my school bags."

The changes will be implemented July 15. 

Richard said the next step is improving the weekend service and expanding the free shuttle service, which brings passengers from the outskirts of the city to the bus station in a six-person van.

Dieppe Mayor Yvon Lapierre said making the bus service free will be on the table for the 2019 budget discussions. (Tori Weldon/CBC)

Dieppe Mayor Yvon LaPierre said the city has been discussing making the buses free for the past three years with the idea gaining support in council.

"Major cities all over the world are considering this as an immediate way of reducing their carbon footprint and meeting their targets when it come to that aspect of the environment," LaPierre said.

LaPierre said he plans to pursue the idea for the 2019 budget planning.

With files from Information Morning Moncton