Third annual conferene on transit to be held April 1st - hopefully the date does not perpetuate the joke that transit has been in the city for the past ten yars.

News 100 yellowBy Staff

March 14th, 2017



Bfast, Burlington for Accessible, Sustainable Transit, perhaps the most effective citizens voice in the city, has been holding annual events that review the state of public transit and gives people an opportunity to voice their views – and voice them they do.

April 1st Bfast will be holding their third conference in what is billed as a Transit Users’ Forum will grade the performance of the system through the second annual transit report card.

Bfast poster with BG logoUser voting will determine the results of this year’s report card, an initiative that was promised several years ago at city council but never implemented.

Burlington Transit staff are slated to make a presentation to the forum on the upcoming Integrated Mobility Plan that will help guide the direction of the system. Using interactive technology, staff will conduct an instant poll of transit users that will help shape the conclusions of the study, mandated in December by Burlington’s city council.

Spicer + Ridge

City manager James Ridge on the right with the former Director of Transit listening intently.

Transit staff were missing in action during the first conference; the city manager attended the second conference with the Director of Transit sitting beside him. Several months later the then Director of Transit departed for an easier working climate.

“Burlington Transit is reaching out to its users, and we are more than pleased that the opinions of the people who use the system will be a part of the Integrated Mobility Plan,” said Doug Brown, chair of Burlington for Accessible, Sustainable Transit (BFAST). “We find it very encouraging that the staff of Burlington Transit want to engage users in the process of establishing a system that will better serve our community.

Transit - seniors with Gould

Seniors discussing what transit hasn’t been doing for them – the third annual conference will give them an opportunity to comment directly to transit staff who will be attending.

“For too long, transit users have lived with continuing cutbacks which have hurt our city. We welcome the opening of a dialogue about the growth of transit, the major component of a greener transportation system in Burlington.”

BFAST is taking the lead in organizing the forum, which has thus far been endorsed by 10 community organizations, including:

· Burlington Age-Friendly Seniors Council,
· The Burlington Gazette,
· Burlington Green,
· Burlington Seniors’ Advisory Committee,
· Canadian Federation of University Women Burlington,
· Community Development Halton,
· Halton Environmental Network,
· Poverty Free Halton, and
· Voices for Change Halton.

As in the past, users will have the opportunity to discuss system-related topics in detail in smaller breakout groups that will cover the needs of seniors, commuters, the disabled, underserved northeast Burlington and the system in general.

Organizers are looking forward to another large turnout for the meeting, which begins at 10:00 am April 1 at the Burlington Central Library. Last year, nearly 100 people attended the forum. Doors will open at 9:30, when a free continental breakfast will be offered.

Mayor Rick Goldring addressed last year’s forum and has been invited to do so again. Will he take the bus to the event?

Members of city council and area MPs and MPPs have also been invited.

The conference will wrap up at 12:30.

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8 comments to Third annual conferene on transit to be held April 1st – hopefully the date does not perpetuate the joke that transit has been in the city for the past ten yars.

  • Monte

    The Region of Waterloo received $15 M from the federal government to improve local transit. I will only assume that Burlington was in the line up to receive their share ?

  • Monte

    Getting Burlington residents and Council to take transit issues serious is difficult to say the least.
    To that end I propose a solution to get citizens involved.
    During “rush” hour there are too many cars on the main roads, while the busses remain only partially filled, or empty.

    So, what is needed is a plan to get the cars to move more quickly.
    Residential roads such as Country Club Dr.,Palmer Dr. and Spruce Ave., to name just a few could raise their speed limits and remove stop signs. This would allow traffic to move considerably easier around Burlington.
    This would make it a lot easier to get from one main artery to the next. There are also some vertical residential roads that could be converted as well.
    Since Burlington residents will not use transit, let’s make it easier to move cars?

  • Irene

    I have gone to Burlington Transit open houses etc.since the seventies and no improvements. I think since the Mayor hired a consultant from his much admired Portland Organ who works in American dollars to tell us how to provide public transit, he should have the answers and a plan. Too bad we didn’t use consultants knowledgeable and attached to Metrolink’s that continuum of transit that is essential to this area. Since the City has spent the big bucks and was told our proportion of spending on public transit is seriously lacking, it is time the Mayor showed up with an action plan, not another PowerPoint of promises.

  • Penny


    Thank you for the clarification. Once again it seems that the residents have to take the lead to encourage the city to do the right thing when it comes to Public Transit.



    Glad to learn of your initiative.

    Just a note that the Transit User Forums have been put on not by the City but by BFAST with the support of endorsing community groups. This year’s forum will be the first some participation by Burlington Transit.

  • Penny


    BSCI, Burlington Seniors Community, which was previously the Burlington Seniors’ Centre Inc. has put together its own transit survey and is asking seniors not only to fill out the form ranking their needs, but also encouraging them to contact their councillor and the mayor.

    This form along with our membership form is available on our website Both forms can be filled out on line and will be sent directly to us. We will be having an Open Forum for Seniors to discuss this and other projects geared towards seniors that our group has in the planning stages on Tuesday, March 28th from 10am-12noon at Burlington Central Library. We will be asking for seniors to become members of our organization ( no charge), and volunteer to let their voices be heard. Volunteers do not have to be seniors.

    It is our hope that the Seniors in our community will work together to encourage Council to put sufficient money into Public Transit in the 2018 Budget to make a difference. The aim is to have more than the band-aid changes presently happening. Moving buses from one route to the other, or changing the start times for things like the Community Bus ( starting later – 10:30am and ending earlier – 2:30PM) is definitely not the answer. The forums put on by the city for this important issue seem to be a waste of time. Our strength is in our numbers – Seniors should not forget this.


    I think Penny has raised a very important issue here. The first two Transit User Forums gave our bus and special transit users an opportunity to discuss their concerns in an open forum and be listened to – at least by BFAST and endorsing organizations. Our reports on these forums clearly documented the many problems and short-comings of the current system as well as a few strengths. The biggest problem with transit is inadequate funding of the system by the City, resulting in too few service hours and infrequent service in many areas.

    Although these findings have been given to the City, as Penny notes, there has been no action by the City to provide the needed resources to improve transit service levels. The recent 2017 budget had no new money for service hours. BT had made a submission for a small addition of service hours, but this request was cut by senior staff and did not even get in the proposed 2017 Budget as a business case. During council’s budget deliberations two small initiatives were proposed – one for free seniors’ fares during mid-day off-peak periods and another for an accelerated schedule for new handivan vehicles – but were defeated by 6-1 votes.

    So yes, were are frustrated with council’s non-support of transit, however transit users have no choice but to continue to press the City for the needed improvements to the system. There is strength in numbers and the Transit Users Forum continues to help those that rely on transit to continue to apply public pressure on the City to ensure access and mobility for all its citizens.

  • Penny

    In your article you mention that this is the 3rd such forum that is taking place. I would like to know if anything was implemented after the first two forums. Engagement to the City seems to be I will listen to what you say and then do what we want.

    It always amazes me that the residents of Burlington continue to believe that the City really wants their input.