Volume 96, Issue 19
Tuesday October 1, 2002

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Wheels go round, bodies get "smooshed"

By Paolo Zinatelli
Gazette Staff

If you're given the choice of searching for a needle in a haystack or a seat on a city bus – take the haystack.

This year's enrollment increases at Western and Fanshawe College have been higher than expected and the additional students have placed a further strain on an already burdened London Transit Commission system.

According to Larry Ducharme, general manager of the LTC, there are capacity issues involved with servicing the Western campus.

Plans are in the works to help alleviate the problem, Ducharme said.

"[For example], on the 10a Wonderland we will be adding two new buses," he said, adding the LTC will also add more buses during the rush hour periods.

Things will settle down once the new buses are added and the additional service begins, Ducharme said.

As well, in the upcoming LTC budget for 2003, finances have been set aside to provide additional service beginning in September 2003, he said.

"[The LTC] has provincial support (funding) – [but it has to] go through the budget process with city," Ducharme said.

Lara Gingrich, receptionist for the Fanshawe Students' Union, said there have been complaints by students to their office. However, no formal complaints have been made, she said.

"It's mostly students coming in and saying the buses are overcrowded and hoping the LTC will do something about it," Gingrich said.

"I know it's an issue, but to be honest, I haven't heard one complaint," said Steve Allen, University Students' Council retail services manager.

Students may be taking their complaints directly to the LTC, instead of to the USC, Allen explained.

Certain times are more crowded than others, he said, adding the LTC foresaw the overcrowding problem over a year ago.

"The overcrowding affects Fanshawe more," Allen said.

"We were on the bus today and the driver wouldn't let anyone stand in the stairway," said Sharon Fernandes, a second-year media, information and technoculture student. "He smooshed us all to the back and left a large space empty at the front of the bus."

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2002 THE GAZETTE