Volume 95, Issue 62

Wednesday, January 23, 2002
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Grad in student-teacher sex scandal

Students: love to talk about porn

Federal report alleges student visa fraud

Coppers to meet with Unity

"That's why they call it mass transit"

Bigwigs celebrate innovation

News Briefs

"That's why they call it mass transit"

By Erin Conway-Smith
Gazette Staff

How many Western students can an LTC driver pack onto a bus?

Personal comfort aside, the legal answer seems to be "as many as possible," just as long everyone stays behind the yellow line and no one obstructs the driver's view.

John Ford, director of planning services for the London Transit Commission, said while there is no legal passenger limit for city buses, passengers are not permitted to pass the yellow line at the front of the bus.

Overcrowded buses seem to be a "chronic" problem on the Fanshawe College and Western routes, Ford noted. "But hey, that's why it is called mass transit," he said.

The passenger limit for city buses depends on where the bus is travelling, said Bob Nichols, spokesman for the Ministry of Transportation.

"If you're travelling within a municipality there is not a limit on passengers, provided there's no obstruction of the drivers view and they don't pass the line that's at the front of the bus," he said.

If a bus is travelling across municipal boundaries, passengers are limited to the number of available seats plus one third of the seating capacity for standing passengers, Nichols said.

Passenger numbers largely depend on time of day and number of buses in the area, Ford said.

"On our busier routes, we usually carry 40 [people per bus], but we can usually squeeze on another 40 without it being totally uncomfortable.

"Everyone wants to get on the first buses, but a lot of the time there are emptier buses just behind them. A lot of the time the buses are packed just because they are the first ones to come along," he said.

Daniela Kiszti, a second-year political science and English student, said she takes the "always busy" 13 Wellington bus on a regular basis.

"[People are] beyond the line – they're on the steps, clinging for dear life," Kiszti said. People have to get off the bus to let others off, even if it's not their stop, she added.

Kiszti said drivers do not seem to care about the bus overload.

"I'm not worried [about safety] – I'm well-cushioned by people," she added.

Harley Kaplan, a second-year science student, said he doesn't ride the bus everyday, but when he does, it is always packed.

"I can see how there could be a safety concern – how can [the bus drivers] see anything?" he said.

Overcrowding on LTC buses has been a concern this year, said Rob Irvine, University Students' Council VP-finance.

The USC responds to students' concerns and makes sure the LTC representatives are aware of any problems, Irvine said. "They historically have been acted upon if [the concerns] have been founded."

Irvine said the LTC commissioned surveys at the end of last term and has worked to address concerns about service by identifying when and where overcrowding occurs.

–with files from everyone

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Copyright The Gazette 2001