New Brunswick

2/3 of Fredericton residents in favour of Sunday transit service, survey suggests

Some people of Fredericton have spoken, and at least two-thirds of them want to be able to take the bus on Sundays.

City of Fredericton releases initial findings of public transit study

The people of Fredericton have spoken, and at least two-thirds of them want to be able to take the bus on Sundays.

That's according to a City of Fredericton's survey on public transit.

The survey was conducted by consulting firm Stantec as part of its work preparing a strategic plan for Fredericton Transit.

The initial results of the survey, presented to the city's transportation committee Wednesday, suggest 60 per cent of those polled are in favour of Sunday service.

Sasha Pejcic, managing associate with Stantec, has previously said that Sunday service was the most common piece of feedback the firm dealt with.

"There's a lot of people that need to get out," he said. "Life doesn't end on Saturday night."

'Unmet demand' 

Meanwhile, 76 per cent of non-users who participated in the survey said they would be likely or very likely to use transit services if there were more routes and greater bus frequency.

Overall, 57 per cent of those taking part in the survey said they were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the quality of Fredericton transit.

Since the survey was launched in January, 2,312 people completed it. About half of the participants weren't bus riders.

Participants were asked about their experience using city buses, the cost, whether they'd take advantage of specific improvements and what would make them use public transit more often.

Meredith Gilbert, manager of transit and parking for the City of Fredericton, said the survey results show there is "unmet demand."

The strategic plan will help the city identify opportunities to persuade non-riders to start using public transit, she said in an email. 

Recommendations coming

Coun. Henri Mallet, who is chairman of the city's transportation committee, said councillors and the city are still waiting for Stantec's full recommendations before moving ahead with any changes to the city's transit system.

Those are expected to be presented to city council by the end of April.

About two thirds of the 2,312 people who completed an online survey on Fredericton public transit said they were in favour of Sunday service. (CBC)

But he did say that if one of the reasons people aren't using city transit is the lack of Sunday service, the city should look at it seriously.

One option could be launching a pilot bus service on Sundays to see what ridership is like, and evaluate whether it's worth the extra money, he said.

"Then we could get that data, and see what direction we want to go," he said.

Gilbert also said introducing Sunday service as a pilot initiative would allow the city to determine whether it is viable. 

The study comes with a $90,000 price tag, a cost that's being split with the federal government.