Mount Pearl considering bus service

Dave Bartlett
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The City of Mount Pearl is looking into costs it incurs for Metrobus services and the possibility of having its own bus service. - Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

Mount Pearl has launched a fact finding mission to see if it's worth it to have its own public transit system.

Mayor Randy Simms told The Telegram this week the cost his city pays to Metrobus each year is significant enough for the city to at least have a look to see if Mount Pearl could run its own bus service.

"It is the largest, single subsidized service provided by the city of Mount Pearl," Simms said of the approximately $800,000 annual bill.

The service actually costs more than that, but the cost is reduced by the amount of ridership revenue collected from the routes which travel to and from the city.

"The question we want to look at is how can we come up with a system that is more effective and more user friendly and maybe better ... than what we have now, and what would it cost us to do it," Simms said.

But there are a number of other questions the city hopes to get answers to by conducting the $30,000 study.

Those questions include can the city provide a service which moves people both through and around Mount Pearl - as well as bring people back and forth to St. John's - and why more people in Mount Pearl don't ride the bus now.

"One of the questions we need to answer is, are they not using the public transit because it's not adequate to their needs or are they not using public transit because, quite frankly, Mount Pearl doesn't need a lot of public transit," the mayor said.

Simms added he'd like to encourage more people to use public transit.

Other questions that the study will answer include can the city use smaller buses - which are cheaper -for inner city routes and could a Mount Pearl transit system still feed into the Metrobus system.

Simms also said the city isn't doing its study in isolation. Mount Pearl is using the same consultant - Dillon Consulting - which conducted the Metrobus study.

"It showed that some kind of a regional mechanism might be a better approach. We're going to look at that as well," Simms said

The mayor noted that the city meets with Metrobus on a regular basis and reviews the Mount Pearl routes at least once a year.

"Metrobus has been more than accommodating in trying to maximize both their return ... and our return and to maximize ridership through the Mount Pearl run," Simms said.

St. John's city Coun. Tom Hann is chairman of the St. John's Transportation Commission, which oversees Metrobus.

He told The Telegram he doesn't know why Mount Pearl is doing the study.

"If the end result is to have their own transit system, then ... in my opinion they are going down the wrong road," he said.

Hann said besides buses, Mount Pearl would have to invest in a bus depot, mechanics and drivers.

He said the commission would be happy to work with Mount Pearl to enhance the current Metrobus service, and it would cost much less.

"It would be a lot cheaper than building their own system I can guarantee you that," Hann said.

The commission, and the City of St. John's is advocating a regional transit system for the Northeast Avalon.

But Hann said the other communities in the region would have to buy in, as would the provincial government.

The Mount Pearl study should be done within four months and will include public consultations for current bus riders and for those who don't currently ride the bus.

dbartlett@thetelegram.com

 

Organizations: The Telegram, Transportation Commission

Geographic location: Mount Pearl, St. John's, Northeast Avalon

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Recent comments

  • Darlene
    January 23, 2012 - 15:46

    The person doing the Mount Pearl study is also the person that consulted on the St. John's study?? What a waste of money. If that person/company had any idea about improving bus services, they would have suggested adding express routes. The biggest reason why people aren't riding the bus in St. John's or Mount Pearl is because of the inconvenience. There's no quick way to get from point A to point B. When you get on a bus, you're taking a tour of the city before you get to your destination. Express routes aren't a new idea folks. Get with the program. You could have a shopping shuttle that carts people back and forth to major malls. You could have the Columbus Drive Clipper that brings you from the East end to the West End in 1/4 of the time it takes to get there on the bus now. All you would need is to have the feeder buses co-ordinate their times to meet up with the Express Routes. Not to mention that some express routes would only run during peak hours for people trying to get to and from work/school. It's not like we're asking for more buses on the road, we're asking for smarter bus routes. If you want an example of good service, check out the Edmonton Transit System. I know that in comparison Edmonton is a much larger centre, but the basics are there for a good transit system for St. John's/Mount Pearl if you took it down a few notches to account for population.

  • BR
    January 23, 2012 - 08:18

    Why 30,000 for a study? Have a meeting with Metrobus as they should be able to answer any questions. For anybody complaining about walking 15 minutes to a bus stop, the exercise will do you good. Also I wouldn't complain about 1 hour from MP to MUN. You arrive dry and use the hour to study.

  • Ashley
    January 23, 2012 - 07:41

    I would ride the bus if routes were in my area. I live in Southlands and its rediculous beause the nearest bus to me is god knows where and I'd need to walk for about 15 minutes to get to a bus stop. It would be easier if it had its own bus service because people of Mount Pearl could actually get places in a reasonable amount of time, without needing to walk forever to get to a bus stop.

  • Political watcher
    January 23, 2012 - 06:17

    This is a silly idea, Mount Pearl has researched this topic many times in the past with the results being that it is just too costly to go their own. Nothing has changed only that the costs have risen and the ridership has declined. Mount Pearl currently pays $4.00 per rider to Metrobus, this will rise to $6.00 per rider as a stand alone service. Any Mount Pearl service will still be dependent on Metrobus, if they can't coordinate transfer ponts then it will be of no use to anybody. Mount pearl riders will have to pay twice; once to get on the bus in Mount Pearl and again when they transfer to the St. John's service. What happens if the service fails? I think there would be very litle incentive for Metrobus to change their routes to again inlcude Mount Pearl, at least not without a reasonable fee. Move on Mount Pearl as any transportation study will yet again prove to be a waste of taxpayers dollars.

  • Patrick Guilfoyle
    January 21, 2012 - 20:32

    Metrobus is willing to work with the city of Mt. Pearl = We'll ad more runs if yoiu give us more money. No, the city of Mt. Pearl Needs and Deserves its own bus service. However, Robert's idea is a good one. Run buses to a hub and then use smaller feeder buses. That's the way to go.

  • Patrick Guilfoyle
    January 21, 2012 - 20:31

    Metrobus is willing to work with the city of Mt. Pearl = We'll ad more runs if yoiu give us more money. No, the city of Mt. Pearl Needs and Deserves its own bus service. However, Robert's idea is a good one. Run buses to a hub and then use smaller feeder buses. That's the way to go.

  • Jason
    January 21, 2012 - 19:56

    Metrobus in Mount Pearl is downright awful and the city should be ashamed of it. It takes an hour to get to MUN.

  • Political watcher
    January 21, 2012 - 15:28

    This has to be one of the biggest waste of taxpayers dollars; if it is currently costing Mount Pearl $4.00 per rider to purchase the service from Metrobus how do they think they can do it any cheaper. Metrobus has all the required infastructure and overhead which Mount Pearl currently doesn't pay. They will need a new garage, these vehicle can't be stored outside. 4-6 vehicles, even if they only offer two routes they will need spare busses to cover breakdowns etc. Added mechanics as when they do breakdown they need to be repaired asap. Drivers and more. They will need to coordinate with Metrobus transfer points, if they don't the service will be useless. It will cost Mount Pearl users twice as much; they will pay to get on the Mount Pearl bus and then pay to get on the Metrobus (can't see St. John's giving a free ride to Mount Pearl if they aren't paying). Mount Pearl has studied public transit many, many times before; just dust off one of the previous reports, lower the ridership and increase the operating and there you will have it. If they did go with their own service and it didn't work out, whee will they turn? There would be no obligation or incentive for Metrobus to re-jig their routes to add Mount Pearl once again. If Mount Pearl wants to study something how about why over the past few years have there been so many Senior Staff leaving. Just this week they are looking for an Asst. Mgr. of IT and a Director of Community Services. Two positions that have only been filled in the past year. Director of Operations-Gone; Two Diretor's of Engineering-Gone; Asst. Dir. of Engineering-Gone. This is only a brief list. Thats what I would really like to know.

  • msnl
    January 21, 2012 - 15:09

    Might be good idea. It could be the main transfer route to cbs, topsail, kelligrews & Dannyville when built. Good strategic location. St. John's can barely handle st. John's. Look what happened to the Goulds -lousy service after amalgamation & taxes equiv to st johns. Metrobus was run well when we were kids - 60's. But then again, sidewalks were shoveled then too! Haha. Avalon huge now & expanding.... Fast. St john' council wasted hundreds of millions on Andy's court cases and a hockey team/ coloseum that went bankrup - they're still paying 100M yrly and give out to much to sports & non-prof's. They always have their hand out or threaten raise taxes. St john's hasn't grown that much except for business. Perhaps raise taxes on commercial properties or people will move out. don't know all answers for such a big region but Avalon region expanding fast way out to clarenville, carbonear, etc. With modern age & growth, Nl transport has to grow outside st johns. It would help communities get to work, shopping visit & maybe take some fars off the road. Something like newfie bullet, linking communites. If that gets built, maybe they'll link out further. Good for jobs and growth. Our infrastructure is old since before Confederation. Love to live out further, st john' s too busy now. al communities would make beautiful retirement comm's - more money for those comm's. Funny thing is population wise, st johns hasn't grown much despite. being in the hole always and service gone downhill. I realize operating prices have increased in 50 years but so have taxes. Just Few thoughts. Why? beatles/ Because i love ....NL. p.s. maybe danny and the other mayors might want to go in on project. It would help their comm's & link 1/4 of the Island up again reg. Not the bullet, just bus srvc. Wish we had train service. We were so much more proactive before in bldging infrastructure in NL. Bankrupt since joining canada 60 yr - no infrastructure. Are we gun shy now? Amen. U.

  • mary
    January 21, 2012 - 14:23

    The current cost for the bus service in Mt. Pearl is unbelievable! Why does it cost that much, what is the breakdown? The service there is poor, you can walk to some areas more easily than wait for the bus. One reason why I won't move to Mt. Pearl is the lack of adequate bus service and I know of others who say the same. Corner Brook is also having problems with it's bus service and Mt. Pearl might want to consult that city in regards to their experiences.

  • HockeyFanNL
    January 21, 2012 - 12:43

    Turry From Town there are more of your so-called "baymen" living in St. John's than there are true townies buddy. Meanwhile in Mt. Pearl the past two MHA's from Mount Pearl South are transplanted townies. Yep that's right Paul Lane and Dave Denine are townies who chose a better life for themselves in Mt. Pearl. Doesn't St. John's have the biggest wharf in the province--aka the Waterfront? What are you going to do when that yahoo of a mayor you have increases your taxes 300 percent? I suppose you could move to Mt. Pearl then right?

  • Jessica H
    January 21, 2012 - 11:57

    If there was a better bussing system for mount Pearl, I'd use it...but who wants to travel for two hours by bus to get to mun or the Avalon mall if they have another choice?? You can't even get to the DT area in a reasonable amount of time.

  • Victoria
    January 21, 2012 - 10:47

    The current bussing system in Mount Pearl is rediculous. There are only two bus routes that run through the city, both which run only once an hour throughout the day (one of which doesn't run in the evenings). It's no wonder so many people in Mount Pearl don't use this system.

  • Turry from town
    January 21, 2012 - 09:04

    I hope Simms gets a bus service for his border town.He'll find out pretty quick how much money that is going to cost to operate.Going to have to raise taxes Randy to pay for that.All those yellow buses going around town will will make you transplanted baymen feel like your home.May as well build a wharf too.While your at it,why don't you provide your own firestations too,then you'll be begging for AMALGAMATION!

  • Robert
    January 21, 2012 - 08:18

    If they want more people in the pearl to ride the bus. Get rid of the buses servicing Mt Pearl and the village. Have mount pearl runs, ending in a hub, then have express busses to the village, downtown, etc. Stop forcing people to ride a bus for a half hour or more to cover the same ground as10 minutes in car