Some residents hope to make a case to bring Metrobus service to C.B.S
'A bus is one more option to remove barriers from getting place to place,' says one MUN student
Joshua Pittman is a student at Memorial University who makes the trip from Conception Bay South to St. John's every morning, and he can't help but think how much smoother his trip would be if he could catch a ride via Metrobus.
"I leave 45 minutes before my class, and drive 30, 35 minutes in," he told The St. John's Morning Show.
"I then walk 15 minutes to my class from where I've parked, and I pay for parking. So it takes up a decent chunk of my morning."
Pittman was one of about 20 Conception Bay South residents who attended a public forum this month focused on bringing public transit— primarily Metrobus — into the region.
"It's another option for people," Pittman said. "A bus is one more option to remove barriers from getting place to place and just free up time, free up energy and relieve stress for people living outside the city."
Pittman said bringing public transit into Conception Bay South would help to make the area feel more connected, and help more people get around the community.
"It's very important to people to be able to go from Seal Cove to Topsail, for example," Pittman said. "To have those small businesses in between be accessible ... the physiotherapists office in Villanova. Just to be not strung out along a long line of disconnected communities."
In 2007, the town decided public transit was too expensive for a town with its layout. A study at the time estimated it would cost nearly $750,000 to bring public transit to the community 28 kilometres west of St. John's.
'Really limited in how you get around'
Jen Crowe is co-chair of Happy City St. John's, a non-profit group that helps to create public dialogue in the city. The group organized the forum.
According to Happy City St. John's, 77 per cent of people living in Conception Bay South work outside of the community. Crowe says the numbers make a good case for public transit in the area.
"You're really really limited if you're a student or if you're a senior, or you're someone who just can't afford a vehicle," Crowe said. "You're really limited in how you get around that place and also get to St. John's and Mount Pearl."
Crowe said one of the big issues that came up during the forum was the cost of bringing Metrobus to Conception Bay South.
"One of the things we heard is that it really needs to be a shared responsibility in terms of cost," Crowe said. "In order for the municipality to help subsidize it, which is what happens in the city of Mount Pearl for example, they would look for provincial assistance with that as well."
Pittman says residents will need to work together in order get the discussion off the ground.
"Ultimately, it's up to residents," Pittman said. "Residents need to collaborate to plan it ... talk with politicians."
In an emailed statement from Judy Powell, general manager of Metrobus, she says the decision to bring Metrobus services into the community would have to be made by the town council. If they town wished to fund transit, Metrobus would provide contract services similar to Mount Pearl and Paradise.
The Town of Conception Bay South declined to comment on the issue when contacted by CBC News, but said the issue may come up around the council table in the coming weeks.
With files from Alex Kennedy and The St. John's Morning Show