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