The Frustrations of Public Transportation

Have you ever been waiting outside on a cold winter’s day for the bus to come and it didn’t show up for half an hour after the fact of when it was supposed to be there, which resulted in you either being late for either your first class or work? Or what about you go outside to catch the bus at its usual time, but as you get out there the bus is already pulling away and you run after it to try and catch it but it just keeps driving away, which again makes you late for class or work?

I’m sure either one of those scenarios has happened at least once to everybody, especially students.

It’s one of the major downsides to having to rely on the city bus as your mode of transportation. Hoping against all hope that your bus/buses shows up on time so that you can show up on time to where you need to be.

They say that you should be outside waiting for the bus a good five to ten minutes prior to when it should be there in case it’s early because we are supposed to anticipate that the bus could be early. Five minutes early I could understand, but ten? Come on.

Now, I understand that buses may be early because they don’t necessarily stop at every stop. And I understand that buses may be late due poor weather conditions. But, if the weather conditions are good, then there is no reason for the bus not to be on time.

Also, if there is a stop that usually has a lot of people waiting at a specific time each day (such as 7 a.m. when a lot of people are heading off to work and school), then the bus driver should sit there at that stop until the actual time it’s supposed to be there at so that those who regularly take that bus at that time won’t miss it. It’s not like by waiting there an extra minute or two is going to make them late because the schedule is made up based on how long it takes to get to each stop from one end of the route to the other.

If every bus driver would do that, it would demonstrate consistency and reliability, which the people deserve since buses are suppose to serve the public and they are the ones paying the ever growing rate increase it costs to ride the bus.

Speaking of bus rates, according to an article I read in the 24 Hour Ottawa newspaper, with the new city budget the new mayor has proposed bus rates are going to go up 2.5 per cent. That may not seem very much, but to the average person who doesn’t make a lot of money and can barely afford a bus pass as it is that’s a lot. I mean it’s already almost $100 for a basic adult monthly bus pass ($114 for a bus from the suburbs) and it’s going to go up even more? Isn’t the whole point of public transit the fact that it’s the cheapest way to go and that it is better for the environment? If they continue to raise the rates, it’s going to cost as much as it does to have a car.

Another thing the proposed budget mentioned was the fact that some of the bus routes may be taken out due to cutbacks. Now why is that necessary? Because they want to put more money into the new public rail system that they want to build from one end of town to downtown (which I don’t think is necessary and is a waste of money)? Or is it because the bus drivers want higher wages? Whatever the reason, if they do end up cutting some routes out, this could mean that some people will have to spend a lot of extra time riding the bus to and from work or school and that’s not fair for them.

Despite my frustrations with having to rely on buses to get around, it is still the cheapest form of travel (for now), aside from biking that is, and I fully support it. But, the bus drivers and city council need to remember that public transit is for the public and is, therefore, to serve the public to meet its needs.

And, for all you bus riders out there and those thinking of becoming bus riders, just be prepared for increase in fares, decrease in routes and the possibility of being late for class or work due to its unreliability.

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