City still looking for public input on a transit survey.

News 100 greenBy Staff

March 14th, 2018



Burlington Transit is in the process of developing a multi-year Transit Plan that will guide new investment in the city’s transit system.

Improving Burlington’s transit service is a priority for the City of Burlington. That has not always been the case; the service has been under funded for close to a decade with constant changes to the routes and the level of service. People who need transit just gave up and looked for some other way to get around town.

James Ridge Day 1

City manager James Ridge told council members that the transit service was crappy – then got $1.5 million into the budget.

It was a report by a new transit staff member that was presented to a council committee last September that brought about a change within the city administration. City manager James Ridge said at that time that transit was a “crappy” service that was on the wrong side of the regulations that govern how staff has to be supported with a work environment that is safe.

Ridge was blunt and direct and got $1.5 million put into the budget for immediate changes.

Now the city has to determine just what is needed in the way of public transit in a city where the bulk of the residents want to use cars to get around and city council members just don’t want to push for public transit.

Transit wkshp = Edwardth = Mayor with cell

Doug Brown, a transit advocate watches as Mayor Goldring looks for a transit route on his Smart phone. Joey Edwardh looks on.

All this despite passing a Strategic Plan that calls for increased use of transit and an Official Plan that makes frequent mention of the need to get people on public transit and out of their cars.

The elected council are certainly not taking the lead on this one – it is the city administration that is leading the change.

On a media release the city said: “As our population grows, providing a variety of convenient, reliable options to help people get around the city is essential. The Transit Plan, along with other city plans like the Transportation Plan and the Cycling Plan, will help to bring this vision to life.”

The city wants to hear from Burlington Transit riders to learn more about how they currently use public transit and from people who do not ride the bus to find out what might encourage them to consider transit. They created an online survey to gather input – the survey is open until March 26. The information gathered will be used to help build a better transit service.  The survey can be accessed HERE

Whenever the city has to remind the public of the survey it is usually because not very many people have responded.

Transit - seniors with Gould

A public meeting, put on by Bfast, (Burlington for accessible, sustainable transit) filled the meeting room at the Library. The city knew then that there were problems with transit.

The Gazette has not seen much in the way of enthusiasm from most of the members of city council.


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11 comments to City still looking for public input on a transit survey.

  • Marie Watson

    Maybe the City of Burlington has has little response to its survey because residents figured out long ago that it’s all hollow lip-service from a bunchy of untrustworthy politicians who want people to think they are pro-transit.

    After learning that federal government transit funding was used by the city for “scrape and pave” projects, I don’t believe a word that comes out of our mayor or council-members’ mouths about transit.

    Once you’ve demonstrated to the public that they can’t trust you and shown time and time again that they can’t rely on the local bus to get them where they need to go, then all the political cheerleading is simply meaningless blather.

    As another poster here said, “it’s not rocket science”. Many other cities somehow managed to slap together a decent transit system years ago.

    Somehow, the City of Burlington can only talk about planning, blah blah blah.

  • Susan

    As I said before, Check the budget. There is no new money for transit so, the new plan will be the same as the old ones, cut and destroy. It will start with changing the routes again so you don’t know when your bus is coming and your connections will get worse. Surveys are meaningless, the budget is where you find the true intentions.

    I checked the Proposed 2018 Capital Budget. I see money for transit shelters, sidewalks, a camera system on buses, repairs to John St Terminal and Harvester Rd. H.O., Replacing 2 Existing buses in 2018, and repair and maintenance. There are NO NEW BUSES in the Budget for this year. So, it will be business as usual, rescheduling the current bus schedules.

  • Roger

    This is not looking for input – its council who can get re-elected saying we are looking at transit as we over build the city into the conjested traffic hell it will become in 10 year or less – I do not blame transit management – people like Mike Spicer tried to do a really good job and got micromanaged by senior city staff and a council that for a majority could care less.

  • The city doesn’t want to “hear from us”. They already just want to copy “bigger cities” traditional bus system.

    All they want is a talking point that makes this all seem to come from the public.

  • Susan

    Meanwhile, while Burlington Transit is spending just enough money to avoid being sued, Oakville is getting approximately $26.5 million from the Federal Government and $21.9 million from the Province to add to the $18 million from the Town of Oakville, to improve their service.

    The City of Burlington misunderstood the phrase “Keeping Seniors in their homes.”

  • Joseph Gaetan

    Just completed the survey,nothing to see here, move on folks… this survey is illustrative of what is horribly wrong with the engagement process in Burlington. But at least COB will be able to check the box that asks whether they they asked us.

  • Penny

    There is no mention that when James Ridge spoke to council about the dire situation of the Public Transit System it was because Labour Codes were not being followed and the City could have been taken to Court. Bus drivers were working too many hours, part-time bus drivers were also working way over labour regulations. There were not enough mechanics working on the buses as well. The money allocated at that time by Council was not to improve the system but merely to meet the labour standards required to avoid possible litigation.

    The money that was increased in the 2018 budget was not nearly enough. It basically will allow the City to meet the labour standards and perhaps provide a few scant improvements. The City was embarrassed into providing bus service on Christmas and New Years Day. Burlington was the only Municipality not offering this service.

    Millions of dollars are needed to be added to the budget to make our public transit system truly operational.

    All the surveys in the world, whether they ask the right questions is moot if Council does not approve the necessary funds to provide a public transit system that actually works for the residents and the Mobility Hubs it is so quick to tell us are required to meet Provincial mandates.

  • BurlingtonLocal

    Maybe no one responded, because no one cares, because no one rides Burlington Transit.

  • Frank Smith

    I continually see near empty buses travelling most routes through the city at all times of the day.Can’t the transit gurus figure some effective solutions rather than throwing more money at BT?

  • Stephen White

    The questions aren’t just leading as Penny has suggested….they are effectively useless!

    In order to identify the reasons why prospective customers do or do not use public transit city officials need to drill down to a finer level of granularity. Asking customers whether they use public transit to commute to work isn’t as important as knowing where they work. Similarly, asking customers if they live in Burlington isn’t as important as knowing where they live in the city. The purpose of the survey is to identify patterns of behaviour and usage. In order to do that you need to identify the demographic profile of your target audience, how, when and for what purpose they would use the service, and how it can be improved.

    This shouldn’t be rocket science. Oakville and St. Catharines both have public transit systems that are far more effective and better managed than Burlington’s. If you can’t originate, plagarize. We keep treading water on this issue and going over the same ground without seeing any measurable progress year after year. Beyond pitiful!!

  • Penny

    Perhaps the reason the public doesn’t answer the survey’s are because they feel they are a waste of time. Another reason could be that many of the people who use public transit are older, and don’t do much on a computer. Students who use the transit system are not going to answer an online or any other kind of survey on public transit.

    Often the questions asked are leading, by that I mean they give the answers the City wants, but don’t necessarily answer the needs of the residents.

    Online surveys are not the way to go. The City will say that they reached so many thousands of homes by email, twitter and other methods of social media, but did they really reach the residents.