The Urban Transit Test Project was completed on March 15, 2006. The Final Report is now available. New!
BSD has also written a small book for Transport Canada entitled: "Public Transit: A How to Guide for Small Urban Centers". New!
For more current information on the Transit Initiative in Bathurst read the BSD May 2006 Newsletter! New!
Below you will find some of the information from the test project phase.
Reminder: Do the Earth a favor...take the bus!
Public Transit...where ever life takes you! CUTA
The Urban Transit Test Project Update and Fall News!
Winter Transit Schedules are now available. Several changes have been made to allow transit to increase both our service frequency, efficiency and to service Call Centers and other areas. The Winter Schedule comes into effect September 6. All riders should obtain the winter schedule and familiarize themselves with the times and changes in preparation for the September 6 launch.
Saturday Service will begin to be tested starting on September 10. The success of Saturday Service will be monitored during this testing period. It is hoped that we will be able to continue Saturday service until at least Christmas and perhaps longer but the length of time will depend upon the number of paying riders each Saturday. The Saturday Bus Schedule is printed on the back of the Winter Schedule.
Back to School Special! Student Discounts of 15% off of the purchase price of Monthly Passes, are now available to all students of Middle Schools, High Schools and College Campus's provided that the student can show a valid Student ID Card or other proof of school registration in the City. There is no age limit...if you are enrolled in one of our local institutions, are pursuing further education and higher learning...you qualify!
The Gift of Public Transit: Planning to give a gift to someone who is having a Birthday? or Special occasion?
Why not give the gift of public transit? Either a monthly pass or a sheet of 10 rides.
Transit Passes are available for purchase at either the KC Irving Civic Center, City hall or Jean Coutu Pharmacy.
Name the Bus and Logo Contest! The Winner of the name the Bus Contest is Andrew Bullen with the name selected by the Transit Project Steering Committee of : BAY TRANSIT/ TRANSIT de la BAIE!
The Winner of the Logo Contest is Louise Theriault.
There were a total of 15 names and 5 logo's submitted in total! The two winners will each be provided with Free Transit passes from September until February! Congratulations! Thank you to all who submitted entries!
Reminder: Do the Earth a favor...take the bus!
Transit Passes can now be purchased at Jean Coutu on St. Peter Ave. !
Type of System:
The system is being designed to offer 30 minute service during the "peek commute" periods of 7am- 9am and again from 4pm to 6 pm with one reduced service from 9am- 4 pm and again from 6-7pm. In most cases, riders must "walk out" from their streets to "catch the bus". The routes are being designed to pass through the highest population density areas. This is necessary in order to obtain enough riders to financially support the main line. The "walk out buffers" are between 200 and 400 meters to a bus stop depending on where your living residence is located.
As you can see from the buffers outlined on the original Proposed Bus Route, 80% of the City can be covered with the proposed routes and riders walking out the 200-400 meter buffer to the nearest bus stop. We acknowledge that there are areas and streets not serviced during the test project. If the test project is a success and rider demand is strong, and the service is able to be established as a full service after March 31, 2006, then hopefully, as we move into Year 2, we will also be able to expand our coverage within the City. If ridership is low during the test project, then service will be discontinued as of March 31, 2006.
Paratransit Service and Wheelchair Accessibility
Unfortunately, wheelchair access (Paratransit) on these buses is not available during the test project. Leasing the low floor style buses that allow wheelchair access was beyond the financial means of the test project. Also, having functioning wheel chair lifts on the buses would have requires a major financial investment of capital costs, additional maintenance expertise and costs and training which the test project is also not able to do at this time. However, we are in contact with the Disabled in the Community and have offered to assist the current Paratransit Service in the City, operated by the Venture Van and Rotary, with developing a Long Term Financial Sustainability Program, to help the service to continue to be available and suitable to the needs of its riders. If the test project is a success, we will be in a better position to provide additional assistance to this important service, if and when the transit service moves into Year 2.
The Urban Transit Test Project Designated Bus Stops with Shelter
The Bathurst Transit Test Project has many Community Partner's. "This overwhelming positive support and assistance from our Community with the test project is greatly appreciated"!
First, we would like to acknowledge our funding partners:
1. The National Homelessness Initiative
2. Moving on Sustainable Transportation
3. Federation of Canadian Municipalities
4. City of Bathurst- Rider Fees from Year I
Cooperation between citizens, businesses, organizations and City Hall is vital when attempting to obtain funding for and to conduct a project of this size and is also needed when attempting to set up a public transit system.
Capital costs can be far too costly and complicated to include in these types of community projects. In Bathurst, the community has really come through with support.
Aliant Mobility is providing communications devices to allow for a continuous live link between drivers, the Transit Manager and the Maintenance Manager.
Pre-fabricated, commercial bus shelters for example, can cost upwards of $5000 each installed. To attempt to keep cost down during the test project, BSD turned to its community businesses and major employers to assist with sheltered bus stops. Instead of building or purchasing pre-fabricated bus stops, the project is using what are called: "Naturally Occurring Bus Stops".
Since the entrances near the Main doors of the "top requested destinations and buildings" where riders indicated they wanted to go in their survey were buildings that already had either an outdoor overhang which provides natural shelter from the wind and rain for waiting transit riders, or have an indoor lobby/waiting area, and as well, most already have benches near these entrances, it made sense to designate these entrances as "naturally occurring bus stops". 22 businesses and building owners along the transit route have graciously agreed to be designated as "official" bus stops which have shelter. The buildings have agreed to allow the transit test project to hang the Bus route map and a small sign which says "bus" on it near these pick up and drop off areas of each building.
"The support and positive attitude of these businesses and building owners for the transit initiative is very admirable and shows what can be accomplished when everyone works cooperatively for the good of the people" says Kelley
We wish to acknowledge these enterprises and thank them for their support. They are:
The Urban Transit Test Project Designated Bus Stops with Shelter
In addition to the 22 designated buildings which are formal bus stops, in between each of these buildings, along the transit routes, additional "unsheltered" bus stops will be designated by the posting of Bus Stop signs on posts. Riders can wait to ride the bus at these additional locations and also can signal for the bus to stop to drop them off at these locations by pulling the signal bell rope on the bus to inform the driver that you wish to get off at the next bus stop sign. These locations have no benches for seating to wait for the bus and are unsheltered.
Once the service commences with riders will be able to purchase their passes or punch passes from three locations in the City:
a) City Hall; or
b) Box office at the K.C. Irving Regional Center.
c) or at Jean Coutu Pharmacy on St. Peter Ave.
During the first month of transit service during the Year I project, transit will be free of charge. All citizens wishing to use public transit during that month will be able to obtain a complimentary Monthly transit pass from either the bus drivers as they get on the bus for the first time, at City Hall or at the KC Irving Civic Center. All riders must show their pass to the driver in order to ride the bus.
At the end of the Free Month of public transit, riders who wish to continue to use the service must purchase either a Monthly pass for the coming month, purchase a punch pass or pay the cash fare to the coin box on the bus. If riding with a monthly pass, passes must be shown at all times when getting on the bus. Children under 12 may ride at no charge but each child must be accompanied by a paying adult at all times.
The service will travel along two 20 km round trip routes throughout the City. The rider fares will be $3.00 cash one way, paid to the coin box on the bus or; you can purchase a monthly transit pass good for an unlimited number of rides per month for $100 valid for a 30 day period or; riders can purchase a book of 10 individual rides for $27. Yearly passes will be made available starting in Year II and will be sold at a discount of $1100 for one year saving the purchaser one months transit fare as a discount.
Pollution Control Policy
BSD has written a Pollution Control Policy for Public Transit. It's focus is to ensure that the transit service is as environmentally friendly as possible. The three transit buses being used during the test project operate using diesel fuel. To reduce emissions, ultra low sulfur fuel is being used.
Additional Project Activities:
BSD will be conducting the following Project activities in additional to Managing the Transit Service and Project.
"Regional Fleet Assessment"
During the project, Bathurst Sustainable Development will conduct a first level inquiry and preliminary assessment of the potential to organize and coordinate the current community size buses which are owned and operated by various surrounding communities, organizations, Villages and Towns outside of the limits of the City of Bathurst into a "Regional Fleet". If successfully implemented, we believe this will be a very innovative service that if replicated could be of great benefit to other areas. Currently we do not know how many of these smaller "community" buses exist. The Regional Fleet would connect citizens from those communities to the City transit service and vice versa. Bathurst Sustainable Development will conduct consultations, as they did during the Phase 1 of the Feasibility Study, and inquiries with communities within a 30 minute drive of the City of Bathurst to identify their current transportation means, to identify if these communities currently have community buses or not, and if the communities are interested in the Regional Fleet idea. We will obtain detailed information on the type of buses, costs to operate currently, number and frequency of users etc... If the communities have buses available or are willing to purchase or lease a bus, and if they express interest in pursuing the Regional Fleet idea further, Bathurst Sustainable Development will assist them to apply for funding to conduct a Feasibility Study to identify if it is financially sustainable to coordinate the current community buses into a Regional Fleet that connects with the City of Bathurst. A separate Regional Fleet report will be published at the end of this project.
The Companion Program: Bathurst Sustainable Development will simultaneously conduct a Companion Program during the transit test project. We believe that this is a very innovative idea for encouraging transit ridership and for encouraging a city that has never has a public transit service to make the transition to using one. It is designed to provide assistance to citizens making the transition and change in life styles from "100% personal automobile dependency" or "no automobile" to a lifestyle that uses a daily affordable public transit bus service. There are many citizens who will need information, need the skills and encouragement to build the confidence and their capacity to independently take the bus. For still others, visual, hearing and literacy impairments may require that they have a companion to assist them. Citizens will need to learn how the system works, try it out, learn how to use the online information web site or the voice activated telephone service. For some, they may need to build their confidence in taking the bus and may benefit from being partnered with a "companion". This companion could be in the form of one citizen or it could be a group, organization, business or industry that is willing to assist as a companion supporter. Citizens going on a companion tour will be provided with a Free Transit Pass for the day, a member of the Companion Program would then accompany the group on their group ride on the bus. This companion assisted transit trip would last approximately one- two hours, which would allow ample time for the group to be able to travel the entire route, learn how to transfer onto the Express Way route, learn how to read the schedules, how to use the "pull line" for stopping the bus nearer to where they are getting off, see where the bus stops are, feel how it feels to be on the bus when it is moving, and develop confidence in personal security while on the bus. The goal of the companion program is to assist citizens in becoming comfortable and confident with the bus system and moves everyone to independence in their personal mobility. On the first outing, a member of BSD will accompany the group on the tour. Each group or organization who register for a companion tour, will be asked to designate a member who will be the "Transit Companion" for that group. During the transit test project, Transit Companion from that group will be encouraged to take the lead during any future the outings. The future outings would be for members of the group who have not had a personal tour, who are new to the City or the area or who are new to using public transit. In this way, we are building a support network of volunteer companions throughout the City. The long-term goal is to build a volunteer list of citizens and groups who will remain available over the coming years to assist citizens wishing to begin to use the City transit service and who would benefit from a companion tour. The Companion program can also be expanded in the future to be available for new citizens moving to the City. The concept of multi-modal transportation will be introduced to citizens during the tours. A hand out showing the various modes of alternative transportation to the personal automobile will be provided. In this way, citizens can begin to challenge themselves to link the transit bus service with other modes of transportation that are both healthy, good for the environment and active. A Feedback form will be developed and given to each member of the tour group to receive their written comments and to assess their comfort level, understanding of the new service, benefits, and understanding of the concept and likelihood of multi-modal transportation. The City will provide the Complimentary Transit Passes for the companion program.
Name the Bus and Logo Contest:
BSD will conduct a Name the Bus and Logo Contest during the first month of Year I. Incentives for the winning entries will be awarded. The Transit Steering Committee will select the winning entries.
Transit Pass Employer Deduction Program
BSD will introduce to 25 employers the Transit Pass Employer Deduction Program, in which employers offer to their employees the option of purchasing their transit passes by having a portion deducted from each of their pay checks each month.
"How to" Guide
The "How To" Guide that BSD will write for Transport Canada will be a unique and usable tool for other small urban centers and will document both the history of our feasibility study experience, the experiences during the test project, plans for the future and include some tips for how Municipalities and NGO groups can build bonds and working relationships. It will provide practical, concrete suggestions. It will also provide current resource links for other small Cities wishing to access information, funding, resources, and technical assistance so that they may also begin to implement a transit service. Input will be obtained from CUTA, Transport Canada, FCM and others involved in public transit.
Bathurst Sustainable Development believes that we have a story to tell about our little City, the changes that we have observed; a 21st century story to tell that may be of interest and assistance to other communities. It is the story of how City Hall and the NGO Environmental organization made the bridge in understanding and decided not to conduct business as usual. They decided each had their own special gifts and services to provide to one another in order to help the community at large work cooperatively towards common goals. It is all about how the entire City got involved and benefited from this wonderful partnership in implementing public transit in our City.
Little cities and smaller Municipalities have special needs in financing, designing and implementing public transit. The rising cost of operating personal automobiles coupled with the increase in air pollutants and the production of greenhouse gases from the burning of fossil fuels from billions of personal automobiles operating around the world is moving the Earth's people in all populated areas, including the small urban centers, to cleaner, greener and more affordable forms of transportation such as public transit.
Future Plans: "The Sheltering Project"
If the transit services moves into year 2, we hope to encourage additional community partners to assist with a "sheltering program". If community associations, industries, major employers, Churches, neighbors in sub-divisions wanted to join together to fund raise or find contributing partners to help them cover the cost of installing a pre-fabricated winter shelter at the nearest bus stop sign in their neighborhood, to register and designate additional buildings as bus stops, or even to provide benches and allow them to be placed on their lawn near the bus stop sign I am sure riders would greatly appreciate it.
The Transit project can direct you to a distributor who sells pre-fabricated commercial bus stops with benches that can be ordered. This will help to ensure that there is uniformity and that bus stop structures are built and installed to industry standards for public safety as well as to conform with City by-laws. Each pre-fabricated bus stop, costs approximately $5,000 installed. While during the test project, it maybe possible to do without these additional shelters, if the service continues after the project, shelters in these areas will be needed.
"After visiting and using many transit systems in other Cities over the past few winters, on cold windy days, you really come to appreciate the value to transit riders of shelter from the wind and the availability of a bench for those in need" says Kelley."