***The following article is an updated version from what was published in the August 22 issue of The Brock Press. ***
Students can expect to see changes to their transit options via the universal bus pass for the upcoming school year.
These changes are a result of the failed U-pass referendum which occurred in February this past academic school year; the referendum proposed to raise the cost of the annual U-pass fee from $202 to $240. The referendum, however, did not pass as 51 per cent of students who voted, voted no.
Brock University Students’ Union has stated during the referendum that the extra cost for the pass would have gone towards covering the $426,000 deficit that transit had been operating under. A rise in demand occurred due to an increasing number of students using the U-passes. The rise of students led to the purchase of more busses, as well as hiring several new drivers, to provide enough services for all students. These changes led to higher operating costs for the transit services, and from there led to the failed BUSU U-Pass referendum.
St. Catharines Transit has posted several new routes and timetables on their website for the upcoming year. There are a total of 12 routes which will stop at Brock University. The routes in question will run on Brock’s schedule, meaning that they will not be in service until early September and they will not be operating during Brock’s Winter break or reading weeks.
Although these 12 routes are a decrease from the 17 that were funded by BUSU last year, the routes cover many important areas for the Brock population including the Pen Centre and downtown St. Catharines. In addition, there will be busses on routes to popular residential areas for Brock students.
BUSU and St. Catharines transit have proceeded to remove the 29 and 30 buses, which were a duplicate of the 21. Route numbers 324/424 and 328 will cover the Tupper/Sullivan and St. David’s Road that was previously serviced by the 28 and 30.
The changes to the bus routes will only leave Richmond to Ormond without direct routes to Brock; however, students can still take the STC 20 to Towpath and take the following 328, NRT 40/45 or 321/421.
The removal of the 128 Towpath is because students can take the STC 11, 18 or 4 and transfer to a Brock bus. The 11 goes through Thorold, which then can be transferred to 328. While the 18 and 4 go to the Pen Centre or downtown, which can be followed by one of 316/416, any NRT route or 335/435.
Bus route number changes are as followed:
|Route name||Old route number||New route number|
|MI Walker (note: this bus had the lowest ridership)||216||N/A|
|Winterberry Shuttle (Thorold)||131||431|
|Sullivan Shuttle (Thorold)||130||N/A|
|Keefer Shuttle (Thorold)||129||N/A|
|Brock Tupper (new)||N/A||324|
|Brock Tupper (new)||N/A||424|
A large number of students were upset about the outcome of the referendum. Jordine De Guzman, a second year student, said “I feel like people needed to be more educated on what the reality was behind what they were voting for.”
Her sentiments were echoed by many others on various social media platforms. There were several requests and suggestions for a second referendum, but as of yet there has been no indication that such a vote will occur.
The Niagara region has also discussed potentially making transits from every city in the region operate as a collective. Municipalities and the region are still working out the details to make this happen.