Update on Winter Road Clean-up

A message from our Manager, Roads and Rights of Way:

Just a quick note to inform you of winter control housekeeping activity currently underway with regards to our residential roads.

As a result of the sustained cold temperatures and the intermittent continual snowfall received since our last residential plowout of January 15th, we have found it necessary to provide a “housekeeping type cleanup” of required areas of residential roads which have become congested with the gradual snow accumulation of 8cm.

This activity began yesterday and should be complete later today. This will allow us to be in a better position to receive the additional 4cm of snow being forecast into tonight as well as the anticipated 10 cm that is forecast for this coming weekend.

Sam Mattina
Manager, Roads / Right of Ways,

U of G Students Overwhelmingly Support Universal Transit Pass

From City of Guelph Communications:

University of Guelph students voted in favour of supporting an increase to the cost of the University of Guelph transit pass (U-pass) as a result of a month long referendum process. A total of 5,000 students participated in the decision with 90% voting in support of the cost increase.

The University of Guelph U-Pass Program has been in place since 1994. The proposal to increase the cost of the pass came about as a result of budgetary pressures faced by the City. Changes to the U-pass are necessary to keep pace with the cost of running the transit system.

“We are very pleased with the results of the students’ collective decision to support the Universal Pass. The change in pricing more accurately reflects the cost of providing bus services to the University of Guelph and works to further balance the contribution of the taxpayers for transit services.” said Ann Pappert, Director Community Services, City of Guelph.

Since late 2009, representatives from the Central Student Association (CSA), Graduate Students’ Association (GSA), University administration and Guelph Transit have worked together to revise program pricing and conditions that provide benefits to all the parties involved.

The new U-pass price will be $82.15 for the Spring/Fall 2010 semester, $84.15 for the Winter 2011 semester and $86.15 for the Spring/Fall 2011 and Winter 2012 semester.

“The University is pleased that the students and the City will be continuing with the Universal Bus Pass,” said Brenda Whiteside, Associate Vice President, Student Affairs at the University of Guelph. “This partnership allows Guelph Transit to remain accessible for our students, enabling them to choose living arrangements throughout the city, and taking advantage of an environmentally sustainable mode of transportation.”

University students represent a significant portion of the transit system’s total ridership. A ridership survey suggested approximately half of the university’s 20,000 students rely on Guelph Transit to get around the city.

“Students were asked to come to the table to continue our invaluable partnership with Guelph Transit. We answered that call and resoundingly said yes, we see the value in supporting the price increase to ensure that everyone keeps benefiting,” commented Galen Fick, Local Affairs Commissioner, Central Student Association. “Students will continue to be environmental stewards and have universal support and access to one of the best transit systems around. The City of Guelph can rest easy, knowing that due process has been followed and the price that students pay reflects the cost of providing the service.”

“Both graduate and undergraduate students have come forward to voice their strong support for the continuation of the U-Pass. Maintaining the U-Pass has ensured that every students’ accessibility needs will be met,” commented Jacqueline de Guzman, V.P. Finance, Graduate Students’ Association. “The partnership between students and Guelph Transit will only continue to grow and strengthen in the forthcoming years.”

In a spirit of co-operation, Guelph Transit continues to work closely with the student associations to develop a more detailed database to monitor ridership and service costs as a basis for future discussions.

The new price will take effect on May 1.

University Bus Pass Rate Comparisons

City staff have posted answers to all of Council’s various questions from the November 30th budget presentation.  Of particular interest to those following the University of Guelph bus pass rate discussion is a comparison chart of municipal transit fares and university bus pass rates in Ontario.

The chart starts on Page 34 of the attached PDF package.


Police Chief’s Perspective on Student Bus Pass

From Chief Rob Davis to members of Council:

December 7, 2009

Hello to All:

At the council meeting of November 30th when budget cost cutting measures were being discussed, one of the proposals put forward by transit staff was to eliminate the U. of G. student buss pass and implement a new city-wide bus pass for all students with a different fee structure applied across the board.

In thinking about this proposal over the past week, I wonder if this proposal to eliminate the reduced fare bus pass for the U. of G. students may come with a few more negative points that may not have been considered.  As I understand it, every student at the U. of G. currently pays a set amount as part of their tuition for a discounted bus pass whether they use the bus or not.  So, a large number of bus passes are purchased on behalf of the students from Guelph Transit but many of them never get used.  The City gets all the revenue whether the students use the bus or not.  I would submit that many U. of G. students that do have the passes, are using them on the week-ends when getting home from downtown on the city busses.  We have found that having the extra busses to transport students between 12:00 midnight and 3:00 A/M has been extremely successful.   I’m afraid that if the passes for the U. of G. students are eliminated or the costs go up substantially, it would negatively affect the U. of G. ridership.  I’m not sure the student body would continue to support the student pass program as part of their tuition which in turn may end up being a loss of revenue to the city.  But more importantly, it could mean less students using the busses to get downtown and getting home again after a night out downtown because of the increased costs. More of them may revert to driving their cars downtown and home again after a night out drinking which is counter-productive to all of the attempts to keep them from behind the wheel.  And, those that don’t take their own cars will now be walking back up the hill to the U. of G. increasing the pedestrian traffic along Gordon St. and the U. of G. Neighbourhoods along with the likelihood of more noise, damage etc. that goes along with the trek back up the hill.  We get many complaints now from irate citizens that contend with this every week-end and I’m confident they would go up.

I know that you all have some very difficult decisions to make but I think some caution needs to be exercised with this issue. I thought it important to share my thoughts for your consideration.  Thank you and good luck with your deliberations.

Rob Davis – Chief of Police

Guelph Police Service

University of Guelph Bus Pass

Oh my!   What a day.  1600 emails and counting.  There has been a great deal of confusion building between Monday night’s Council budget meeting and today about the alleged termination of the University of Guelph universal bus pass system.    Although there was discussion about increasing fares and making transit more affordable for high school students,  I maintain that there is not a specific recommendation to Council to cancel/eliminate/terminate the U of G bus pass.     Here’s the official word from the General Manager,  Community Connectivity and Transit, Michael Anders:

Potential Changes to Fares for 2010

On November 30, Transit
staff outlined to Council three potential options for
changing/increasing fares in 2010. Each option is summarized below.

a)  Standard Fare Increase
Option – Staff discussed the potential impact of an overall 7% increase
in fare revenue. The methodology used to calculate the incremental
revenue including the impact of fare elasticities was described.
Council asked that a 3% and 5% increase also be assessed by staff. This
material will be included in the response back to Council for the
December 8th meeting.

b) Inclusive Student Fare Program Option
– The intent of this option is to assess the feasibility of
implementing an inclusive pricing structure for all full-time students
in an accredited learning stream and would encompass elementary,
secondary, college, post-secondary and other eligible institutions. As
part of the exercise Transit staff needs to review the existing model
for the University of Guelph U-Pass program and will be working with
the Student Union who we have a contractual relationship. If Council
embraces this idea, staff will return to Council in early 2010 to
propose various models that will address the issue of transit price
equality for all students in a learning stream. Further details are to
be provided in the response back to Council for the December 8th meeting.

c) Combination Option
– This is option is a combination of a) and b) where a percentage
increase is applied to adult and senior fares and the inclusive student
fare program is implemented. Staff was requested to provide further
details at the December 8th meeting reflecting a 5% increase on adult and senior fares.


To conclude, Council has not directed staff to pursue any of these options.  They are being considered as part of a much larger budget process.

Feedback always welcome…..