London Transit ventures outside usual territory
By Mark Brown
Students in Lambeth will no longer feel isolated from the rest of London, following the start of a new pilot project by the London Transit Commission to service the area.
The LTC has had ongoing discussions with Lambeth since its annexation last year, said Larry Ducharme, general manager of the LTC. He added the pilot project will last for six months. "It's a pilot simply because we have to find out if we meet their needs and if it is fiscally viable."
Nick Iozzo, VP-education for the University Students' Council, said the new pilot project should clear up some complaints filed with the USC. "Out of the few complaints we got, a lot of them came from the Lambeth area."
Some students were upset they had to pay for a bus pass for a service which did not service them, Iozzo explained. He added up until the launching of this pilot project, Lambeth was the only area in London not serviced by the LTC.
"It was a situation I could sympathize with," said Ian Armour, president of the USC. Armour added he was forwarding the complaints to the LTC.
He said he was pleased with the announcement. "It is just another positive step for the bus pass."
Gord Hume, London city councillor for Ward 7, said he has been pressuring the LTC for over a year to service Lambeth. "It is something the community has wanted for some time," he said.
"It will allow particularly teens, young people and seniors to better utilize the transit system," Hume added.
Hume said he was pleased with the route and some of the unique features of the project. In the residential areas of Lambeth, people can wave at the bus and the bus will stop, he explained.
As for the success of the project, Hume said it was now out of his hands. "It's really up to the community at this point. I hope the community will use it."
The LTC runs about two test projects like this a year, which are incorporated in its budget, Ducharme said.
Still, he added, the new service will put a strain on other services but the LTC is not anticipating any delays. "It is the right thing to do. You have to experiment and see what happens."
The new route, which officially began Monday, will circle Lambeth and service Westmount Mall. Ducharme explained the route will only service the area outside of peak hours. "We just don't have the resources to offer any more peak service."