Expect to see new, smaller – 25 passenger – buses in the streets of the city in the not too distant future.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON. February 28, 2013  Transit is going to get a lot more attention in this year’s budget that it did last year when close to half a million dollars was sucked out of transit and put into upgrading roads.

Then a funny thing happened – city council and staff learned that the people of Burlington did care about transit – they had made it their number three concern in an Environics poll done for the city.

That was all it took for the bureaucrats to start looking at transit more seriously.

Having a new Director of Transit in place didn’t hurt either.  Mike Spicer took over from Donna Shepherd who retired at the end of last year and has gone on to retirement.

Every manager brings his or her own style to the job – Spicer is different.

The specifics on the budget will get debated at a daylong session Thursday.  At a session of the Community Services Committee Wednesday night we got a peek as to what the transit people are thinking – in a phrase – more buses and a fleet that will have more flexibility.

Burlingtonians can expect to see smaller 25 passenger busses cruising along city street if the excited talk coming out of the mouth of the Director of transit is to be believed.

While nothing is cast in stone – the gist of what is planned is the purchase of 12 – eight metre “cut-away” buses that will carry 25 passengers: 19 seated, six standing.

The information was in an Alternative Vehicle Acquisition that feeds into a larger report on transit that will be debated on Thursday.

The words fare increase are going to creep into the budget debates.

What was interesting was the approach council took as it met in committee.  They looked as if they were prepared to sign the purchase order on the spot before Councillor Taylor piped up and said: “the public hasn’t seen these buses and we haven’t done any trial runs or testing”.  Taylor wanted to see something in the way of community input, to which everyone nodded – ‘uhuh we want input from the public’.  Had Taylor not made a comment – my sense was that the public wasn’t going to have much in the way of input on this decision.  Meed Ward, the traditional champion of the people’s interests didn’t say a word.

The 8 metre, 25 passenger bus that looks like it is going to be cruising around the streets of the city sometime in 2014 can be seen in the photo.

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5 comments to Expect to see new, smaller – 25 passenger – buses in the streets of the city in the not too distant future.

  • Susan Lewis

    So, the City found a new way to downsize public transit service. Just downsize the size of the buses. I didn’t see that coming.

  • By the by, these are not Busses, the city is misleading the public when they refer to these things as 8 meter busses. Call them what they are: PASSENGER VANS.
    Cut-a-Way is only something certain members of this council are intent on DOING TO Transit.

  • Wonder how this city will meet its transit targets with busses that carry half what a real bus carries?

    • Joan Gallagher-Bell

      It is disheartening after reading the newspaper today and then seeing Pepper’s remarks. Sad and disaapointed doesn’t even cover the emotions. Politicians need to look first at Stat Canada demographics and then think of the priority of the needs/concerns within Burlington. Borrowing fom Transit to pay PAC won’t work either. Transit is needed for all ages from teens to seniors.
      If anyone finds Burlington of old please return to residents as soon as possible. Plus may we all remember at election time! –God Bless…………..Joan