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crs1026

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^VIA has run special high-end charters to Stratford in past years. The challenge is the first mile - last mile logistics. Niagara has a well developed local transit operator, Stratford would be challenged to move a trainload of folks to the theatres.
Might work for matinees, where people might accept a more liesurely outing, but evening shows would be more of a challenge thanks to the late hour of return. The theatre might have better data on where their shows draw from, but I can see a lot of theatre goers not wanting to head to Union - Bramalea, on the other hand, woukd be a great place to catch the train from.

- Paul
 

TFC

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The Globe's Theatre critic on the potential for a GO Train to Stratford.

This would be an incredible boon for Stratford, not to mention the enhanced transit access that it would provide to nearby hamlets. I was in Stratford this past Saturday afternoon and the town was absolutely alive. Lots of people out on the main strip, with little parking to be found in the downtown core.

Definitely a tangent in this thread, but I wonder whether future passenger service through Stratford to Goderich would ever prove feasible (again, tapping into a future recreational/tourist market for day trips).
 

lenaitch

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^ You would think VIA or GO, the municipality and festival management could team up with a charter carrier or even a school bus operator for a package.
 

Northern Light

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^VIA has run special high-end charters to Stratford in past years. The challenge is the first mile - last mile logistics. Niagara has a well developed local transit operator, Stratford would be challenged to move a trainload of folks to the theatres.
Might work for matinees, where people might accept a more liesurely outing, but evening shows would be more of a challenge thanks to the late hour of return. The theatre might have better data on where their shows draw from, but I can see a lot of theatre goers not wanting to head to Union - Bramalea, on the other hand, woukd be a great place to catch the train from.

- Paul

You got me looking at the website for transit in Stratford.

Route Map is below:

1628556300959.png


I can't believe that's coherent to any local, let alone a tourist.

I would note that Stratford's theatres are not on the map; 2 of the majors are directly served (Avon/Patterson) but the Festival theatre itself is not. Though there is a route nearby.

However, none of the services that would reach those theatres actually pass by the VIA Station. They do, again, come fairly close, but the downtown transit terminal is 300M away.

***

Schedules can be found here:


Service is no better than every 30M.

Runs only Mon-Saturday (on-demand on Sundays), no holiday service.

Service is one-way only on most/all routes.

Circumlocutious to no particular benefit.

****

Certainly there system is not ready for prime time or to take advantage of regular inter-city rail service.

A whole lot of re-thinking needed there.
 

lenaitch

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^ That's a hub or radial system, where all of the routes converge on the downtown transit station. It's not uncommon in smaller cities. I suppose they are good at getting folks downtown (although Stratford's terminal seems to be in a residential area), but travel between routes can be tedious.
 

Northern Light

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^ That's a hub or radial system, where all of the routes converge on the downtown transit station. It's not uncommon in smaller cities. I suppose they are good at getting folks downtown (although Stratford's terminal seems to be in a residential area), but travel between routes can be tedious.

I'm familiar w/spoke and hub systems.

My issue w/this one is that the routes themselves are an incoherent looking jumble.

Up one street, down the next, turn after turn and stops every second block. Yikes!

Also, not a single cross-town option East-West, even though Ontario-Huron is well configured for that.

Stratford isn't that large. It needs more frequent service, on a similar number of routes, but far fewer streets. (says me as someone who doesn't live there)

By splitting the service so finely you make it impossible to run predictable, frequent, 2-way service on corridors where that would work well.

Seems like a system designed for the captive rider, not the choice rider.
 

crs1026

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^One would think that the local transit might be able to work out a shuttle system... not just for the train, but connecting all three theatre sites to the restaurant/shopping district.

The distances are not large, so each shuttle vehicle can make multiple trips, but no one wants to miss the opening curtain... or be stranded at the Festival Theatre at 10 PM because there wasn't enough room on the last shuttle bus to the station. Or have a whole train of people waiting to depart at 10:15 PM while the shuttle is sent back for one more load of stragglers.

One wonders if others (Shaw?) have similar opportunities and similar logistical challenges. Cant wait to see how GO/HSR handles the Labour Day Challenge in Hamilton.

- Paul
 

Northern Light

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^One would think that the local transit might be able to work out a shuttle system... not just for the train, but connecting all three theatre sites to the restaurant/shopping district.

The distances are not large, so each shuttle vehicle can make multiple trips, but no one wants to miss the opening curtain... or be stranded at the Festival Theatre at 10 PM because there wasn't enough room on the last shuttle bus to the station. Or have a whole train of people waiting to depart at 10:15 PM while the shuttle is sent back for one more load of stragglers.

One wonders if others (Shaw?) have similar opportunities and similar logistical challenges. Cant wait to see how GO/HSR handles the Labour Day Challenge in Hamilton.

- Paul

Agreed; but worth adding, I neglected to mention that local transit currently stops operating 9:30'ish on weekdays and before 8pm on a Saturday.

So, you can't miss a 10pm bus that doesn't exist!
 

lenaitch

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I'm familiar w/spoke and hub systems.

My issue w/this one is that the routes themselves are an incoherent looking jumble.

Up one street, down the next, turn after turn and stops every second block. Yikes!

Also, not a single cross-town option East-West, even though Ontario-Huron is well configured for that.

Stratford isn't that large. It needs more frequent service, on a similar number of routes, but far fewer streets. (says me as someone who doesn't live there)

By splitting the service so finely you make it impossible to run predictable, frequent, 2-way service on corridors where that would work well.

Seems like a system designed for the captive rider, not the choice rider.

Yes, it does seem rather peripatetic, but some smaller cities seem quite adhered to that system. When our daughter was at university in North Bay, to take city transit (which they had a pass for as part of their student package) to go grocery shopping was akin to being on a scenic tour bus - actually two buses since they had to change at the downtown terminal - schlepping groceries. It was so bad the university put on a 'grocery bus'. No doubt transit managers have their reasons but it would be curious to know what they are. Perhaps they made more sense when everything was 'downtown'.
 

ShonTron

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The current Stratford bus terminal is quite new: it used to be that the buses would all meet behind city hall, but the space was cramped and it was redeveloped into a market square.

The new terminal is a short walk from the VIA station on former CN lands. It is also served by PC Connect, with service to Kitchener-Waterloo, St. Marys, and London.

It is not a long walk from the terminal or station to the Avon Theatre, though it’s far enough to the Patterson Theatre and the Festival Theatre. You’d need a bus shuttle for that.
 

Northern Light

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The current Stratford bus terminal is quite new: it used to be that the buses would all meet behind city hall, but the space was cramped and it was redeveloped into a market square.

The new terminal is a short walk from the VIA station on former CN lands. It is also served by PC Connect, with service to Kitchener-Waterloo, St. Marys, and London.

It is not a long walk from the terminal or station to the Avon Theatre, though it’s far enough to the Patterson Theatre and the Festival Theatre. You’d need a bus shuttle for that.

I'm going to be a bit harsher here.

For people attending theatre, from out-of-town, including, potentially, women wearing heels, the 300M (or 2 block walk), would be less than ideal (to the terminal); in good weather, never mind poor.

The street along which the connection would be made is not an ideal pedestrian environment, and the connection is something less than intuitive.

Then you add the walking distances at the other end, plus the 30m frequency, plus no current late-evening or Sunday service.

There's not much redeeming here for that crowd.

It may work better for locals; but I struggle to see it working well.
 

tsm1072

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It may work better for locals; but I struggle to see it working well.
The bus service has no reason to provide good service to the train station and visitors coming in. If frequent train service was in the cards, I'd imagine the city, downtown BIA, and festival would all want to make sure they can bring in tourists through transit. But until that point, the bus service seems set up to serve locals on a shoestring budget.
 

Northern Light

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The bus service has no reason to provide good service to the train station and visitors coming in. If frequent train service was in the cards, I'd imagine the city, downtown BIA, and festival would all want to make sure they can bring in tourists through transit. But until that point, the bus service seems set up to serve locals on a shoestring budget.

Chicken and Egg.

Mx told Niagara Region they had to have regional transit in place if they wanted regular GO service. That's now being done.
Ridership (pre-pandemic) was rising accordingly.
The GO tourist service boosted local ridership.

Its the virtuous cycle.

****

That makes for me being less receptive to the argument that 'we don't need good transit because no one arrives by train'........
Maybe, one reason train service has dwindled is that same poor transit service locally to and from said station, and for those who visit by train.

I don't want to overstate that case.

But lets consider the massive spike in transit ridership in Brampton when service was improved considerably.

As it turns out, good service attracts customers; and bad service drives them away.
 

mdrejhon

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Let's not get the Niagara Trains stopping there. The travel time is already insane without an additonal stop.
Long term, they are planning to build a much faster track as a track extension to West Harbour. Thus, stopping at West Harbour will actually speed up the trains, given the southern track will be the Metrolinx track.

I know that CN and Metrolinx has to work together, but heck, maybe even 80-90mph (143kph) peak between stations like elsewhere on Lakeshore West? One can hope.

Also, even if this does not happen, stopping at West Harbour doesn't entail much deceleration of the train because the train is already slow by necessity after having come around the lake curve and through the railyard. So it will slow down the train by only about 2 minutes, since the deceleration/acceleration will be relatively tiny for this particular station.
 

lenaitch

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Fair point and, as NL says, chicken and egg, but at least part of the discussion was related to the last mile service for 'theatre special' trains.

I imagine it is quite difficult for transit operations to schedule around infrequent rail service unless it happens that a station stop is handily on a route and simply a 'dead stop' most of the time.
 

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