Stop the bus – we want to get off. Bfast, Burlington’s community transit advocate thinks the city is making a mistake.

Revised and corrected June 12, 2012

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON  June 12, 2012  BFAST has asked the city to stop cuts to transit service.  BFAST (Burlington for Accessible Affordable Transit) has submitted a detailed report to the City of Burlington asking the city to stop the cuts proposed in the City’s Interim Transit Plan.

BFAST points out that the proposed cuts to transit service mostly impact northeast and southeast Burlington which the group feels is unfair to parts of the city where the service is being cut.

Cuts to transit in northeast and southeast Burlington will not build transit use in these growth areas of Burlington.  These areas require stability in transit routes and future improvements, not cuts, to encourage transit use.  Cuts ignore the City’s recently approved Strategic Plan and Halton’s Transportation Plan which both call for increased transit use.

Burlington Transit getting new buses - to deliver less service.

BFAST proposes that the city reallocate money from the City transportation budget or overall City budget to implement the proposed service enhancements for west and central Burlington to avoid cuts in north east and south east Burlington.

The transit people have been looking for ways to drive down there costs and get some financial stability into the transit service and feel that the route changes as well as the changes to the levels of service is the approach they want to take for a period of about 20 months.

At the end of that period of time the transit people feel they will have the data they need to make decisions and will have tried a few service changes and see how they work.

Burlington transit did get approval at a Council meeting Monday evening to purchase six replacement busses at a cost of $2,844,454.83  The busses will be 12 metre diesel powered low floor transit vehicles bought from New Flyer Industries in Winnipeg.  These additions to the fleet are badly needed.  Some of the buses in the fleet have been in service more than 20 years and cost as much as $8,500 each month to keep in service.

The city is taking the position that they will not make large radical changes to the transit service until the Official Plan review is completed.

It will be difficult to convince this Council to change the decision that has been made – unless the response from the community public information sessions are resoundingly strong.  Given that very few people knew about the events, it is doubtful there will be a change in the city.

Bfast held its first public meeting with former city of Toronto planner Paul Bedford speaking.  The event had more attendees than the transit public consultation meetings got.  Why would that be?


Return to the Front page
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

4 comments to Stop the bus – we want to get off. Bfast, Burlington’s community transit advocate thinks the city is making a mistake.

  • Nick

    It was the same Paul Sherman who put that study through on the 10 through Spruce Avenue…wanted to determine what was the best way to operate Burlington Transit. After that study concluded, it was determined that keeping the 10 as it’s currently operating is the way to go.

    It’s funny that even that after that study, perhaps he still was complaining to make the “empty buses” more full or else he’ll get rid of them. He’s done so.

    he, along with many others who are making BT look like a puppet performing at a puppet show, is that as long as information about Public Information Centres and any Master Plans to be sent out for public input, poor timing as well as generic response from us transit riders are simple ways to keep ignoring the problems.

    I didn’t know about the BFAST coalition until I had seen an article at Inside Halton’s website, through Transit Toronto’s website. Granted, the timing was alot better I guess to get the word out, but it was just in time to get people engaged in discussion and to vent their true feelings of what’s been ailing this system as a whole.
    Even though that it wasn’t really bad timing to have this Interim Plan posted and public meetings properly advertised, the people saw the plan (likely online) and decided not to come as they don’t trust council anymore. They had trust in them with The Route Ahead, but lost that trust when that vote for paving roads/parking lots is a hell of alot more important then investing for buses, infrastructure & projects to transit. No wonder there wasn’t very much interest to say that some things were addressed but others can’t because “their business” isn’t working so they had to make the cutss to make the improvements happen.

    I am a member of the Burlington Transit Advisory Committee and it seems regardless of any new ideas or anything that can be considered a good idea to convey to council to do for BT, they turn a blind eye (ya, pardon the pun as I’m visually impaired, too) to the voice of the transit riders. Ok,a deaf ear is better, sorry. 😛

    Lastly, I would certainly love to join BFAST as it seems like the best chance to have an ultimate, stronger voice that even the non-transit people can’t ignore.

    PS: If this Interim Plan goes through minus the cuts, the additional express service (Route 101) and the revamped Employment Corridor routes would require additional buses. The BT fleet, even with the replacement buses still won’t expand. They will be short of buses on the first day of this new service!! What an embarrassment!!!

  • James Smith

    The cuts to Route 10 are due to one city Councillor who didn’t know he bought his house on a bus route & wants to get the bus off his street. He has somehow convinced BT to make this change even though staff did a full review of this route in 2009, & infrastructure investment was made in 2010 as a result. When asked Staff about this, staff did not answer this question directly.

    James Smith, a passionate public transit advocate, was also a candidate in Ward 5 during the last municipal election. Paul Sharman is the Council member for Ward 5

  • David and Judy Goodings

    BFAST has clearly struck a chord that resonates with many people in Burlington: transit in Burlington is woefully inadequate and seriously underfunded.

    In contrast, the Public Information meetings were futile exercises that did not allow for any meaningful input from transit users.

  • “Burlington transit did get approval at a Council meeting Monday evening to purchase zxx new xx buses – which are badly needed.” Pepper, what are zxx and xx buses?

    You make a very good point Barbara and the errors and inaccuracies have to be addressed.
    The “newspaper”is a one man band. I write the vast majority of the material and have been fortunate on several occasions to have people who wanted to write about something that interests them and is relevant to the community.
    Many of the city council meetings are in the evening and I tend to go home, relax a bit, watch some television and then get to my keyboard and get as much done before I am totally worked out.
    Last Monday I got home spent some time with my wife, watched her drift off into dreamland and then went to my keyboard at around 11 and was still at it at 1:44 am when I packed it in.
    As you will by now realize, I am not the world`s best proof reader. My wife does go into the webs site the next day and correct the errors. Often I will put in an xxx to remind me to go back and put in the correct bit of information.
    Writing for me is a flow process. I work from my handwritten notes and from the impressions I picked up at a meeting. Al large part of reporting is watching people and the way they behave. I have been watching the seven members of Council for more than 18 months. I have been watching the senior staff for the same length of time and having lived 71 years I am pretty good at reading people.
    One of the mistakes I have made is putting a story up before it has been checked by someone else. I have let my haste to get the story out there, get in the way of putting up a piece that has been checked and proof read by someone else. In future In future I will write my story, put the pictures in place, do the layout and then let the story sit as a draft, waiting for the proof reading.

    There are people at their desks reading what I`ve written at 7:00 am. And I want to have something on the web site every morning. The traffic to the web site has grown remarkably. However, putting up poorly edited material is something we have to stop doing. So the Missus and I have discussed this and if I bring her a cup of coffee she will get out of bed and proof read each story – and then go back to bed. Let`s see how that works.