Nova Scotia

Cape Breton University grapples with transit woes as students face long waits for bus

The Transit Cape Breton bus schedule is not keeping pace with students' schedules this fall at Cape Breton University.

Students complain of missed classes because of transit schedules

CBU students say there are long waits for Transit Cape Breton buses at the university. (Yvonne Leblanc-Smith/CBC)

The Transit Cape Breton bus schedule is not keeping pace with students' schedules this fall at Cape Breton University.

Students in Sydney say they often have long waits at bus stops and are sometimes missing classes.

"Yeah, I have missed classes, but just a few." said Azish Sadhu, who said getting the bus home from university can also be a problem.

"We don't have a [bus] shelter here at CBU and the lines are so long, sometimes we have to get a taxi to get to our home."

Azish Sadhu said he has missed some classes at CBU because he couldn't catch a bus. (Yvonne Leblanc-Smith/CBC)

Sadhu said he was sick earlier this month and long waits for the bus in the rain were to blame.

The majority of transit users are international students who live in Sydney and the surrounding areas.

Second-year hospitality student Ashley Meng watched the bus she hoped to take home drive away without her — it was at a capacity with 55 students already aboard.

"I'm always waiting for a long time," said Meng. "I may be waiting an hour."

In this case, another bus arrived a short time later but Meng said she can't always take that chance.

"If I don't want to miss class, I will call a taxi."

Jason Loxton, an instructor in the geology department, tweeted a photo of a long lineup at the CBU bus stop, and questioned whether the rapid growth at CBU is being managed.

About 200 students attended a meeting on Tuesday to discuss their problems.

CBU student union president Parteek (Gunny) Brar called the meeting to hear about the issues first-hand.

He said the student population continues to grow and although the Cape Breton Regional Municipality did a good job of tackling the problem last year, the bus schedule is not in line with class schedules this semester.

One example, he said, is that the last bus of the day leaves CBU before the last class is over.

"We worked with CBRM a little bit where they told the driver to come five minutes late, and we talked to teachers to finish the class five minutes early, that accommodated a lot of students," said Brar.

Parteek (Gunny) Brar, the CBU Student Union president, met with about 200 students Tuesday to discuss the busing situation at the university. (Yvonne Leblanc-Smith/CBC)

That still didn't resolve the problem for students who need a connecting bus to get home.

Brar said the union executive will work on other solutions to present to CBRM and CBU.

New bus shelter announced

CBU announced Thursday that construction will begin September 30 on a new bus shelter on campus.

In the press release, CBU president David Dingwall, called on the Nova Scotia government to put more money into transit.

"Now, increased provincial investment in local transit is required, so the CBRM can provide an even better transit service to students and our community," said Dingwall.

An emailed statement from the CBRM said the transit manager and supervisor are out monitoring the stops daily to determine the new peak times.

It said that Transit Cape Breton is working on putting four extra buses on the CBU route at all times and the service is also in the process of hiring new transit drivers.

About the Author

Yvonne LeBlanc-Smith has been reporting news in Cape Breton since 1981. You can follow her on Twitter @leblancsmith and reach her at yvonne.leblanc-smith@cbc.ca

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