Our site is entering the ninth week of our Q&A feature in which SaultOnline poses a community question to the Mayor and Councillors. In addition, the list of sponsors now includes anyone who has announced their intention to run in the fall municipal elections.
As always, the question is asked at the beginning of the week and a deadline of Friday noon is given for the submission of answers.
This week’s question –
Some places across the province are renewing their transit system with smaller buses and better route planning, etc.
With buses seemingly never full and with the price of diesel, petrol and everything else rising. What do you think of buying smaller buses, possibly electric or hybrid, and streamlining service delivery to reduce the cost to the taxpayer?
Mayoral Candidates –
Ozzie Grandinetti- We should opt for a mix of full-size buses and smaller buses or larger vans like the Ford Transit or Mercedes Sprinter to be able to provide the best cost-effective service to users and the City. As an entrepreneur I spend a lot of time driving around the city, from what I see most of our buses are running empty damaging our roads. I think we need to keep running full size buses in the heart of the city where the number of passengers is higher, especially during peak hours. Smaller buses or vans could allow us to provide improved service to passengers on the outskirts of town, where fewer people use the services. We should also consider a better service delivery model for passengers using services on the outskirts of town, such as reducing their journey time and dropping them closer to home rather than at the nearest bus stop .
A north-south route would provide better services for our downtown residents who need to travel to the hospital or access services in the north end of town. I would also like to research what the town of Innisfil (pop. 40,000) has done with the carpooling service they started a few years ago. I heard they had success with it. Customers have access to on-demand, affordable and safe transportation and enjoy the flexibility of having transportation anytime, day or night.
Matthew Shoemaker –
Yes, we need to consider smaller buses where we can use them. Many of our new buses are 10% smaller than our old ones. However, if it is possible to reduce them further (provided they can still provide service), we should do so. That said, the last 2 years of ridership are not the statistics our decisions can be made on as COVID has drained public transit, so we will need a few years of “normal” operations to make the best decisions for the transit system in the future. .
We already have a plan to electrify our bus fleet, and I expect you will see the first electric bus in the city next year. This is not the only type of municipal equipment that we should electrify. We already buy electric zambonis (which will mean more carbon monoxide from the exhaust of the zamboni inside). I also recently introduced a motion to electrify our small engine equipment like lawn mowers, weed killers, chainsaws, etc. We should electrify every piece of equipment we can because of fuel cost and environmental benefits.
We did a comprehensive route study, which was approved in August 2018, and it reduced transit costs significantly, allowing us to restore Sunday service. We had reduced Sunday service at the start of the 2014-2018 mandate to reduce costs, but it was obvious that this left many people without good options for getting to work on Sundays. We should consider doing it once every 8-10 years, and I would agree to doing another one towards the end of this decade.
Donna Hilsinger – No response sent.
Ward 1 –
Paul Christian – No response sent.
Sandra Hollingworth – No response sent.
Ward 2 –
Luc Dufour – No response submitted
Lisa Vezeau-Allen – No response sent.
Ward 3 –
Donna Hilsinger – (See mayor category)
Matthew Shoemaker (See mayor category)
Ward 4 –
Marchy Bruni – No response sent.
Rick Niro – No response sent.
Ward 5 –
matt scott –
I wish our public transit had much smaller buses and operated more efficiently. During my time on the board, I supported the purchase of smaller buses (which I believe we could get even smaller than these) as well as pilot projects around more efficient operation. Ideally, we should collect as much data as possible about locations, time of day/week/month/year, weather, and all other possible data that we can analyze for any trending trends. traffic, and then base our operations on that. Making our transit agile and able to pivot when trends change is the key to efficiency.
In the absence of that, on-demand transit is something I would like to see developed. Why run buses on long journeys if there is no one to pick up or drop off? It’s bad for business and it’s bad for the environment.
Corey Gardi – No response sent.
The Mayor’s Office –
No response submitted.
Here’s a bi-weekly running dashboard showing who’s responding and who’s not.
Do you have a question for your councillors, mayors and candidates in the weeks leading up to the election?
Let SaultOnline know and our staff will do their best to get answers not just for you, but for the community as a whole.
To reduce confusion in the run up to the provincial election, this will be the last weekly Q&A session until after the provincial election.
Thank you for choosing SaultOnline/ONNTV as your news source in Sault Ste. Marie and its surroundings.