STOP lobbies for extended bus hours

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

London Transit Bus

Jonas Hrebeniuk

TRAVEL GREAT, EVEN LATE. Activist group Sensible Transit Only Please is pushing for an extended bus schedule for select routes in London on Fridays and Saturdays.

Catching a bus home after a raucous night at the Ceeps may be an option for both students and residents alike thanks to a local petition.

The London Transit Commission will consider extending weekend bus service until 3 a.m. in response to a petition from a group called STOP (Sensible Transit Only Please).

At an LTC meeting Aug. 29, STOP proposed four major routes be extended until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights.

According to the current schedule, major buses leave downtown around midnight: two hours before most bars and nightclubs close.

STOP leader Trevor Harris said many students would benefit from the extended service.

Brodie Miller, a third-year music student at Western, agreed buses would provide a cheaper, safer ride home from the bars.

“A cab is fine, but buses would be better,” he explained. “Downtown is too far to walk.”

“We have collected 3,200 signatures,” Harris said, adding that the Western, Fanshawe College, GT’s, Jack’s, Stream, and Stobies Pizza have also shown support.

Harris cited Grand River Transit’s “Late Night Loop” in Kitchener-Waterloo as a prototype for late-night bus service.

Director of Transportation and Planning for the LTC, John Ford, said the project will come under review in spring 2008. Funding, safety and operational issues will be addressed at that time.

Funding the project remains a pertinent issue. “You have to take into account how much subsidy is required,” Ford said. “There are only so many dollars to go around.”

Ford also stressed issues of safety and security for both passengers and drivers.

John, a LTC bus driver who preferred not to disclose his last name, said late-night service would negatively affect his work and family life.

“If you’re driving around at three in the morning, you’re dealing with drunk individuals,” he said. “It would put other passengers in danger.”

“The city as a whole will benefit,” Harris countered. “Late night service will reduce the number of cars on the road, clean up our environment, aid shift workers and provide safe transport from downtown.”

Ford said he could not speculate whether the pilot project would be approved.

STOP’s website can be found at www.freewebs.com/londontransit.

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