Transit riders overall are "happy" with permanent changes made to two North Hill bus routes, according to Brandon Transit manager Carla Richardson.
It has been more than two weeks since transit’s Route 3 and Route 7 were cancelled and replaced with Route 4 and Route 5. Although the public has been invited to provide transit officials with feedback either online or by telephone, it has been "very quiet," Richardson said.
"We’re certainly on time more and the customers seem to be making their connections and transfers," she said. "There may be the odd delay but certainly not like the 30 or 40 minutes that we were experiencing."
Community members were invited to share feedback about the two new routes at the Riverbank Discovery Centre on Wednesday night. Among the seven community members in attendance was avid transit rider Judy Wilson, who has been riding buses in Brandon for nearly 20 years.
Wilson, who lives on McDonald Avenue and has been taking Route 5, said that she now has to cross the road to catch her bus. Since she often travels with her daughter and her daughter’s two young children, she mainly has safety concerns.
"It’s very unsafe," Wilson said. "We more or less have to stand on the road and traffic does not stop for people on the road ... so it makes it difficult."
Overall, the route changes haven’t affected her travel schedule too much, she said. But instead of having bus service every half hour, after 2 p.m. daily in her area, she now only receives hourly bus service, she said.
Richardson said the only negative feedback they’ve received so far is in regards to schedule changes in which some areas of the city are switching to an hourly bus service instead of every half an hour. But she added that all the areas the previous routes covered are accommodated by at least one of the new routes.
Ridership has also stayed comparable with the old routes. The average on a Friday for former Route 3 saw about 340 riders, while the average for the new Route 4 on the same day is now around 330, she said. Route 5 now picks up about 245 passengers on a Friday, the same as the former Route 7, she said. They’re also seeing an average of 700 to 800 riders taking advantage of the Sunday bus service, she said.
Detailed maps of Route 4 and 5 are available online at brandontransit.ca. The old routes have been removed to prevent any confusion, Richardson said.
The Eighth Street bridge, which has been closed since Jan. 14 after a lateral support beam was hit by a private five-ton garbage truck, helped spark changes to the bus routes.
This week, the city will be putting out a tendering package for repairs to the bridge on the City of Brandon’s website, brandon.ca, according to the city’s deputy director of engineering, Patrick Pulak.
Construction should begin sometime in March and to prevent delays, all materials needed for the roughly $40,000 repair job are being made locally available, Pulak said.