More buses for GoBus

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The GoBus Accessible Transport Service is overloaded with riders. Eligible riders. Ian Froude has claimed that the solution to this problem is to cull the ridership to eliminate the drastic rise in city expenditures for this vital service. The facts point in a different direction.

The city simply grossly underestimated the need for this service. Ridership has MORE THAN DOUBLED since its inception in 2012.

GoBus has repeatedly requested more buses be added to the fleet, to be able to accommodate the demand. But the city’s response is to say no to more buses, and tell them to contract out rides the buses can’t handle to Newfound Cabs.

The GoBus operation has only 18 buses to cover the entire St John’s metro region. This includes the City of St John’s proper, Mount Pearl, and the Goulds. This is a HUGE area to cover. Add to that the massive increase in demand for the service, 18 buses CANNOT handle all the booked rides. In fact, buses only handle approximately 30% of booked rides. The rest are serviced by Newfound Cabs. With the City paying them regular taxi fare prices.  THIS IS WHY EXPENDITURES HAVE SO GREATLY INCREASED!!

We the undersigned strongly request that Ian Froude realize the logic of making a one-time investment in additional buses. That action would GREATLY REDUCE costs by reducing the need for taxis. For a long time. That’s A LOT of money saved for the City.

At the present moment, because of the shortage of buses, some clients have been kept on the bus for 2 hours or more. This is actually a violation of their human rights. It amounts to forcible confinement after one hour. That client has no choice in what is happening to them because this is their only option for transportation. Unfortunately, this means that they end up with less, or no time to do what they booked the bus for.

 I have personally been on a bus for such a long

time, that by the time I finally reached my destination, it was time to wait for my bus home. A complete waste of time and money. The GoBus user rules require that users book a return pickup time for all trips except medical appointments. With the small 18 bus fleet available now, and with a new policy stating that riders can be kept on the bus INDEFINITELY, ( which statement is a violation of human and civil rights) people are not getting where they need to go within a reasonable amount of time unless they are sent a taxi. If kept on the bus indefinitely, the rider will not have the time to accomplish what they came to do. This means that with the inadequate number of buses, the GoBus service is not effective. As is.

The solution is glaringly clear. The demand for this service has far exceeded the ability to service it. It is simple logic to say that more buses are needed. After speaking with many bus drivers, there is a consensus that MORE BUSES ARE NEEDED! The number of additional buses needed has been quoted to me by GoBus employees as EIGHTEEN MORE BUSES! DOUBLE WHAT THEY ARE CURRENTLY ASKED TO WORK WITH. The workload can get so demanding that some drivers do not take their mandated breaks in order to get clients to their destinations within a more reasonable time. So the drivers are also suffering due to the city’s refusal to increase the fleet. Some have related to me that they are feeling high levels of stress.

We ask that Ian Froude consider that it would be FAR CHEAPER IN THE LONG RUN to invest in the buses needed, and reduce the huge payments being issued to a cab company. We ask that he agree to invest in this vital service for the disabled, while saving the city the considerable amount of money spent on a basically “stopgap measure”, and protecting the basic rights of the users of this service.

We, as GoBus users, pay the same fares, with the same fare structure, as regular Metrobus users. The City makes sure that those Metrobus users can be relatively sure of when they will arrive at their destination. We, who ride with GoBus, are simply asking for the same consideration. That can’t be achieved with only the current 18 buses. Our rights and services should in no way be any different because we have disabilities, and extra challenges

SO PLEASE, COUNCILMAN IAN FROUDE, PROVIDE THE GOBUS  SERVICE WITH ENOUGH BUSES TO MEET THE CURRENT NEED!!