New Brunswick

How about Sunday service? Consultation coming on Fredericton transit service

The City of Fredericton is launching an Idea Bus to gather public feedback on ways to improve the transit service. It will be set up in the Boyce Farmers Market from Jan. 22-25.

The City of Fredericton is setting up an Idea Bus to gather public feedback on the transit service

Fredericton Transit will hold public consultation to gather ideas for improving the service. (Ed Hunter/CBC)

The City of Fredericton wants to know what transit users need, and so far there's one recurring theme: Sunday service.

Extending the service week is a chief concern among passengers who spoke to CBC via social media Tuesday as the city prepares to gather input on a new transit strategy.

Sunday service is important to Eva Hachey. Her daughter doesn't drive and they live off the Lincoln Road.  

"Taxi is costly," said Hachey. "Wake up Fredericton, we all matter."

The City of Fredericton is offering a week long "Idea Bus" for people to use to express their concerns. The idea is to improve efficiency and effectiveness of the transit system.  

The city said it is interested in understanding how the system can be improved for current passengers, as well as what might be needed to entice non-users on board.

Sunday is the only day when Fredericton Transit doesn't operate. Two routes to the city's outskirts in Silverwood and Lincoln are also not offered on Saturday.

Terry Spafford, who now lives on the north side, said the bus service to Lincoln is "criminal."

"I'd love to see a Lincoln route that basically leaves Regent Mall, goes by co-op and the Lincoln area, past the airport and ends in Oromocto," he said.

Many people who use the service say it should run on Sundays. (CBC)

Bridget Spence lives on the Woodstock Road and said she would also like to see service on Sundays.

"We are shocked by the lack of bus service," she said. "If one of us needs to work any time that is not early morning or an evening, they have to cab. There is no midday run."

For some the bottom line is seven-day-a-week service, and access to more under-served areas.

Ann Arbeau said it doesn't make sense that there is no service on Sunday.

"As if people don't work Sundays and have nowhere to go," she said.

The 'Idea Bus'

The city said it's looking to make recommendations on improving the service by March 2018.

People will be asked to fill out an online survey and board the "Idea Bus" the week of Jan. 22- 25.

The Idea Bus will will kick off Boyce Farmers Market on Saturday from 7:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. People are encouraged to tell their stories and provide ideas on how to make improvements.

The Idea Bus will allow people to share their feedback about transit. (Megan Goddard/CBC)

The additional locations of the bus will be revealed at the transportation committee meeting on Jan. 23.

A stakeholder workshop will also be held with major employers, social service agencies, the university and college and community leaders.

"As Fredericton grows, we want to ensure that our transit system responds to better serve our customers and the community" said transportation committee chair Coun. Henri Mallet.