As any university student will tell you, finding off-campus living accommodations after first year is never an easy process. Among the many factors that affect whether or not a student decides to sign a lease for the following school year, one seems to stand out from the rest: public transportation.
For some students, finding a house or apartment that has convenient and accessible public transportation is a necessity and, thankfully, the city of Thorold has improved upon their bus routes to Brock in the past couple of years.
But these improvements had recently been put in jeopardy as Thorold city councillors had called to end routes that run through subdivision streets, including Winterberry Boulevard, Keefer Avenue, Summers Drive, and others.
The Brock University Students Union (BUSU) has responded to the worries of the councillors, and the sides have worked together to find an acceptable solution for everyone. What’s clear is bus routes will remain unchanged for now, as at least four months notice is required for any route changes.
The councillors’ substantial list of concerns begins with the fact that they feel as though the transit authority, Brock University, and BUSU did not allow for any input to be given from city council when constructing these routes through subdivisions.
The constant stream of buses have led to a spike in complaints from non-student residents in the area about loitering students, increases in litter, and an overall congestion. Although in favour of a good public transit system, the city is arguing that they need to have more control over the situation, looking to limit the bus grids to main streets only.
They argue that it could be unsafe for large, double buses to be speeding along these backroads where young children could potentially be hit. Fearful that the students are attracted to these residential areas because of the public transportation, and so are living in party houses which disrupt the neighbourhood, the city has decided that enough is enough.
Changes to the routes would not occur until September 2017, after thoroughly reviewing the situation and providing university students with time to make other arrangements. This decision will not only negatively impact students who rely on Thorold’s current bus system to get to school and work, it is likely it will also have a significant impact on the community.
Discouraged by the inconvenience, students may decide to switch to driving to school in their own cars, increasing the volume of cars parked at the university and in surrounding neighbourhoods. Also, the number of students walking along main roads would increase, creating a new concern.
BUSU representatives have spoken up on the issue, claiming that public transportation is essential for most students who choose to live further away from the school. Many students have spoken up, giving Brock and BUSU the opportunity to keep the bus routes the same. No alterations to the bus routes in Thorold as announced by BUSU on their Facebook page.
The students of Thorold contribute approximately $1 million to the city each year.