GRT requires improvement
The Grand River Transit bus system that serves the Kitchener-Waterloo Region has taken great strides that many cities have yet to address.
They offer an express service with satellite updated times and shelters, the iXpress, which stops at significant locations in KW from north Waterloo to Cambridge, the “Bus ‘n’ Bike,” where you can place your bike on the front of any bus, hybrid buses, the “Late Night Loop” and a phone service that will update you with the time of the next bus.
However, many students, the dominant part of the Waterloo population, are completely dependent on the bus system and it falters all too much.
The problems are not with the ideas this transit system brings to the table; it’s the execution of the system.
Online schedules seldom match up with the satellite iXpress schedules, which also rarely match up with when the bus actually shows up. The buses that arrive early don’t wait for everyone to arrive.
The scheduled hours don’t allow for life to function after midnight; it is impossible to get take public transportation to the VIA rail terminal effectively (especially in the winter) and the phone service often does not work with the sound of passing traffic.
Laurier students have to pay for a bus pass as part of their student fees; it is not a cost we can waive and the GRT makes substantial profits from students living in the city.
Students are paying for a service all year round and should be treated as important customers that have needs that are not being met.
Students need to be considered when the transit system looks into its future growth and operation plans; there is so much inefficiency that could be easily solved by surveying the student body. Things as simple as direct routes to grocery stores and other necessities from different areas of the city need to be addressed.
For example, only the 7C goes to Conestoga Mall via King Street, even though a significant part of the community lives off this street and would utilize additional efficient routes to the mall.
The community at large has much to gain from these considerations; as the roads fill up with slow-moving traffic and gas prices increase people need effective transit that gets them where they need to go on time and efficiently.
The GRT is on the right track with their system but in this case it’s the details that are lacking.