Free rides, shorter waits: St. John's releases road map for public transit

via CBC

Recommendations target younger riders, reopening U-Pass proposal

Free rides for children under 12, a U-Pass system for university students, and route changes are some of the key recommendations of a public transit review commissioned by the City of St. John's. 

A report released Wednesday on problems with the city's public transit — Metrobus and GoBus — offered several ways to improve ridership. 


"Travel behaviours will not change unless Metrobus provides a service that is more convenient and reduces travel time," said the report, by Canadian firm Dillon Consulting.

The review's recommendations include:

  • Developing a transit outreach program for youth.
  • Implementing a student pass program.
  • Offering free rides for students under the age of 12.
  • Targeting high school and post-secondary students.
  • Continuing the discussion with Memorial about a U-Pass system. Earlier this year, MUN students rejected a proposal for a mandatory fee that would provide all students with bus passes.
  • Investing in a frequent transit network of routes that connect key destinations.
  • Implementing a low-income fare pilot program.

Waiting too long for the bus

Metrobus general manager Judy Powell said many routes have hour-long wait times, although the core routes have shorter waits. 

"That's not attractive to people wanting to use it as [their] main source of transportation."

She said she recognizes that St. John's has a car-oriented culture, and that change is needed on that front. Powell agreed with the report that starting with youth is a way of addressing that.