News

Welland Transit numbers up

By Dave Johnson, Tribune Staff

This file photo shows Welland Transit bus terminal in downtown Welland. Riding Welland Transit will cost a little more starting June 4.

This file photo shows Welland Transit bus terminal in downtown Welland. Riding Welland Transit will cost a little more starting June 4.

Residents feel Welland Transit is moving in the right direction, Ward 2 Coun. Leo Van Vliet told council Tuesday night.

Van Vliet, chair of the city’s transit advisory committee, presented his report from the most recent transit meeting to hear information on revised Saturday hours and new Sunday hours.

About 35 residents and staff were present. The general consensus was very positive, he said.

“There were some concerns about the hour of operation, but it is understood that this could be adjusted if the number of users warrants it,” Van Vliet said.

He said residents raised various issues, ideas and concerns, including asking when debit would be available to pay for bus rides; whether or not disabled residents would be allowed to get a senior rate; the clearing of snow at bus stops; people smoking near or in bus shelters; leaving the main terminal open every day until the last bus leaves for the day; loaded cards to pay for rides; and electronic fare boxes.

“The meeting overall was very positive and well received,” the councillor said.

He told his fellow councillors that Welland Transit ridership is up significantly in 2017 as compared to 2016.

“March 2017 ridership is up 16,658 to a total of 102,890, as compared to 2016’s total of 86,232, and April 2017’s ridership of 83,312 is up almost 3,500 as compared to 2016’s amount of 79,827. April this year had two less service days versus 2016.”

His report said those figures exclude Port Colborne service ridership, and it also said WellTrans ridership is doing very well, with the number of no-shows and cancellations being down significantly.

“We’re well on our way to a million riders. We should hit that number in early December.”

Van Vliet said Sunday service starts in June and he probably won’t report back to council with figures until the service has time to build up riders. The Sunday service will run between 9:45 a.m. and 4:45 p.m.

Ward 3 Coun. John Chiocchio asked whether the Sunday service could be extended to 5 p.m. to take in riders from Seaway Mall and its employees.

Van Vliet said that was discussed at great length, but for now the hours will stay.

“There is a good possibility transit could come back in September and say Sunday ridership is working so well that they want to add more time,” he said.
 

dajohnson@postmedia.com

Twitter: @DaveJTheTrib