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Some optimization of LRT service by "rebalancing" frequencies. Overall, they may still add 1,900 hours of LRT service in 2024 (not necessarily a lot).

* Frequency increased to 10 min from 7am to 8pm in the summer
* Frequency increased to 8 min from 7am to 8pm during non-summer
* Frequency decreased from 15 min to 30 min from 5am to 7am and 8pm to midnight.

While, it's great that they're adding some net service, 30min frequency is horrible for the LRT. They need to maintain a reasonable level of service even if there's not as much ridership.

The transit portion starts at 2:13:00

Just watched the video. It appears that they've hit the ceiling of the service hours allowed in the contract with the LRT operator (GrandLinq). So to increase service during the day, they must cut service elsewhere.
 
Just watched the video. It appears that they've hit the ceiling of the service hours allowed in the contract with the LRT operator (GrandLinq). So to increase service during the day, they must cut service elsewhere.

They can always renegotiate the contract, not to pick on the police budget but they ask for millions more every year and get it, there is no reason the LRT cannot have similar increases in funding. They constantly want people to use transit, yet are getting rid of reliable service in the evenings when many people run errands, go for dinner, movies etc which just results in people to not use it. Not to mention all the people who work irregular shifts getting ignored. I take the LRT numerous times a week and the difference between 8 and 10 minute headways during the day won't make much of a difference, sure the trains are packed but its not to the point where people are left at stops, changing from 8 to 10 minute headways is just an extra train and a half an hour, which ultimately won't do much in the grand scheme of things. The removal of evening service is going to be horrendous during the week but especially on weekends, the university which is arguably one of the biggest trips generators doesn't have any realistic alternatives to go north/south, the region seems to believe the 7 is except many stations aren't close to it, UW station is one of those.

If anything a reduction to 20 minutes at most in the evenings is reasonable, there does not need to be 8 minute service from 7-8pm or even mid day, sure at peak times it might make sense but 10 minute service is reasonable for much of the day. As much as GRT wants to make everyone believe demand isn't peaked there is still noticeable differences in usage when you take it at different times of day, from about 7-10 there is a lot of university, highschool and 9-5 commuters, and from 4-7 in the evening its similar, but from 10-4 there is substantial usage but the trains are not packed like they are during rush hour. Really the region shouldn't be cutting service at all (the region refuses to call it this but it is cuts regardless of how they phrase it).
 
So they don’t want to pay more. Exactly what I thought.

That is exactly what it is, they spent nearly a billion dollars on the system and now that's it's getting used they are wanting to change the existing headways without changing how much they're paying which in turn results in cuts to service, then the inevitable spiral of no ones using public transit so we should cut service more starts to happen.

This is basically what happened for route 2 this past summer. The region didn't want to pay for it because it was a low revenue route however they proceeded to ignore the fact that for the entire existence of the route since it was rerouted in June of 2019 (the entire system got changed to feed into the LRT) it was affected by various different things, covid dropped ridership and roads along the route were under construction for the vast majority of the routes life, so of course it wasn't being used. The public ended up throwing a fit (rightfully so) and managed to get half the route saved. Here's hoping the same thing happens with these cuts, I know some regional councillors are on Reddit and the discussion over there about it are primarily calling it a dumb idea so hopefully it doesn't actually happen.
 
Frequency decreased from 15 min to 30 min from 5am to 7am and 8pm to midnight.
What’s the rationale for this change? Is it driven by budgetary concerns? Lack of operators? Low ridership? Why those times?

I’m very reluctant to see 30 minute service from 8PM - midnight. That part I’d like to see rolled back at least.

I am less invested in the AM hours, though whenever possible I’d like to see frequencies that don’t exceed 15 minutes. 30 minutes is a very long wait in a Waterloo winter.

EDIT: oh, they don’t want to pay more? Garbage. How much would maintaining the service levels cost in per-person property tax increase?
 
What’s the rationale for this change? Is it driven by budgetary concerns? Lack of operators? Low ridership? Why those times?

I’m very reluctant to see 30 minute service from 8PM - midnight. That part I’d like to see rolled back at least.

I am less invested in the AM hours, though whenever possible I’d like to see frequencies that don’t exceed 15 minutes. 30 minutes is a very long wait in a Waterloo winter.

EDIT: oh, they don’t want to pay more? Garbage. How much would maintaining the service levels cost in per-person property tax increase?

The rational for change in service levels from 5am-7am and 8pm-midnight is there is more demand throughout the day (record levels on the LRT and busses), ridership of the LRT went from roughly 14k rides a day up to 22k a day in September and hasn't come down yet. what they want to do to because of this increase in demand is to increase 7am-8pm frequencies from 10 minutes to 8 minutes and in turn sacrifice service all other times of day to be every 30 minutes. This way they don't have to renegotiate the contract with Keolis/Grandlinq since the maximum number of operating hours is exceeded if they keep 15 minutes from 5am-7am and 8pm-midnight.

If they maintained existing service which is still plenty sufficient for the LRT (existing bus service not so much) it wouldn't cost a dime more, instead they want to add just under 2000 hours of LRT service, which wouldn't cost much considering it's already in the contract that's signed with Keolis. However those increased hours are only from 7am-8pm, but in order to not have to renegotiate the contract they're going to sacrifice service levels from 8pm to midnight and before 7am. Instead of just maintaining the status quo which works fine right now.
 
I'm from Mississauga so 30-minute frequency is pretty common on many routes. It's not the end of the world, but for the backbone of the system it really sounds pretty bad. Hopefully they can find the money to at least maintain 20 minute service levels. Even 20 minutes is a heck of a lot better than 30 minutes. When I'm taking the GO train in the evening and it's a 30 minute gap to the next one it feels like a loooong time.
 
I'm from Mississauga so 30-minute frequency is pretty common on many routes. It's not the end of the world, but for the backbone of the system it really sounds pretty bad. Hopefully they can find the money to at least maintain 20 minute service levels. Even 20 minutes is a heck of a lot better than 30 minutes. When I'm taking the GO train in the evening and it's a 30 minute gap to the next one it feels like a loooong time.
Well a weak backbone for specific transit agencies are pretty common here in the GTA. Look at 501 Zum Queen especially on weekends, Viva Blue drops to 20 min service at night, and the DRT 900 Pulse I believe used to run its full Scarborough-Durham run at least every 15 mins now its a terrible 30 min all day. Hopefully GRT does do something completely different from the others and actually fix those 30 min gaps.
 
Why spend all that money on an LRT when service is 30 minutes when you can run 10-15 minutes with an express bus or local??

To save a buck for building the LRT line, they take riders on a tour than a short trip between X-Y that would generate more ridership.
 
Apparently we saved a dandy here in the region:

aroundtheregion.ca | Vintage GRT bus getting a Hollywood makeover

396231388_726342896204441_218377455654948738_n.jpg


Edit to add: Picture yoinked from the associated Facebook post, as the article didn't have it without text overlayed.
 
Why spend all that money on an LRT when service is 30 minutes when you can run 10-15 minutes with an express bus or local??

To save a buck for building the LRT line, they take riders on a tour than a short trip between X-Y that would generate more ridership.
GRT is a funny duck. On the one hand I am usually floored at the frequency they can run, and when they do it’s amazing. The iON is packed, buses are packed, I don’t even have to check schedules most of the time. But there’s always a moment where things just don’t add up and it breaks the illusion of a near-perfect system. This latest debacle is piling on evidence that the top brass doesn’t know how exactly to respond to massive demand growth. They got 80% of the way, but now they’re making tradeoffs that will set them back more than it will keep them going.

Take this example. The bus I use the most now, the express 202, is wonderful during the day, but after 6pm frequency goes from 10 mins peak/15 off-peak to 30 minutes. We can certainly question if full service is always needed along the entire route, but I’ve never seen such a cut off anywhere. Demand is crushing routes citywide, too, not just around UW/WLU- and Conestoga’s diploma milling is not helping. In short, they need to find more service hours, and fast. This reshuffling is not going to work.

Worse still, this is the only city I’ve been to where I can confidently say night service is clearly becoming necessary, too… talk about suffering from success.
 
GRT is a funny duck. On the one hand I am usually floored at the frequency they can run, and when they do it’s amazing. The iON is packed, buses are packed, I don’t even have to check schedules most of the time. But there’s always a moment where things just don’t add up and it breaks the illusion of a near-perfect system. This latest debacle is piling on evidence that the top brass doesn’t know how exactly to respond to massive demand growth. They got 80% of the way, but now they’re making tradeoffs that will set them back more than it will keep them going.

Take this example. The bus I use the most now, the express 202, is wonderful during the day, but after 6pm frequency goes from 10 mins peak/15 off-peak to 30 minutes. We can certainly question if full service is always needed along the entire route, but I’ve never seen such a cut off anywhere. Demand is crushing routes citywide, too, not just around UW/WLU- and Conestoga’s diploma milling is not helping. In short, they need to find more service hours, and fast. This reshuffling is not going to work.

Worse still, this is the only city I’ve been to where I can confidently say night service is clearly becoming necessary, too… talk about suffering from success.

The one thing that GRT does have going for them is they do know how to expand and provide decent service coverage to the vast majority of the urban areas in the city, most areas have bus service every 30 minutes, obviously 15 minutes is ideal but that isn't the reality unfortunately, the exceptions are the newer subdivisions but once they get built GRT tends to put a route into them (look at doon for an example).

The top brass have never had a clue how to not screw things up, they tried removing route 2 without public consultation and that backfired horrendously. Now they're trying to get rid of late night and early morning LRT service without any public consultation, I'm someone who relies on it because I work some pretty abnormal shifts and there's many other people using it in the same situation just look at reddit and see for yourself.

Sure they can try justifying it by saying route 7 is an option but the problem is route 7 sucks, it doesn't go near half the stations that have the most demand (both the stations by the universities) so they're just disregarding an entire population that uses the system. The reality of it is it's just frustrating because the staff still seem to think 9-5 is the only shift. If these changes actually happen I doubt we'll see any other useful changes until the existing operating contract expires (another 5 years iirc). This is just part of the unfortunate reality of public transit in KWC.
 
Unless you use the historic routings through UW.
In the early 00s, a few years before the big service increases and when GRT was still mostly operating the services it inherited from the Kitchener and Cambridge transit systems, the only bus route that actually entered the U of W campus on late evenings and Sundays was one branch of route 7 every 30 minutes, plus route 8 (every 45 minutes with its inscrutable interlining pattern) and route 12 (every 60 minutes I think) that stopped in front of UW on University avenue. I think route 9 entered the campus during the day on Sunday (once an hour), though it may have short turned at King and University. These last two routes didn't go to downtown Kitchener, but route 9 roughly corresponded to the present LRT routing between UW and Conestoga mall.

Though with the all the capital spent on the LRT they should commit to a minimum service standard at all hours. This is how you end up with the situation like YRT with billion dollar busways with service every 25 minutes. KW is also a lot different than it was 20 years ago. It used to be when the place was almost dead on Sundays, and a lot of things weren't open Sunday despite being a bit over a decade after Sunday shopping was legalized. Some of the new subdivisions springing up near the University had no transit at all. Downtown Kitchener was full of vacant factories and didn't have a grocery store. There also was no U-pass, and there were shuttles (school buses) chartered by the university and the student union to take students to grocery stores and some off campus housing because the transit service was so limited. Those late night every 30 minute 7 buses could be crush loaded too, so there was more demand that GRT was not yet serving.
 
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End of the day I think it's abundantly clear that Waterloo Region has both a desperate need for more service hours, and an awful lot of residents who's mental picture of the Region is as things were 20 or more years ago.

I am somewhat hopeful that GRT might be able to become something of a general transportation agency rather than the pure transit service it is today if the restructuring that will be needed with the removal of Regional planning authority happens.
 
End of the day I think it's abundantly clear that Waterloo Region has both a desperate need for more service hours, and an awful lot of residents who's mental picture of the Region is as things were 20 or more years ago.

I am somewhat hopeful that GRT might be able to become something of a general transportation agency rather than the pure transit service it is today if the restructuring that will be needed with the removal of Regional planning authority happens.

Many residents picture of the region is the opposite of reality its insane sometimes, every single planning application has swarms of people against it, a lot of the times people worry that "we're turning into Toronto". Recently in Kitchener however there has been a noticeable increase in positive comments thankfully, I know a few of these comments are from people in their late teens/early 20s so the demographic is starting to switch which certainly helps. So the idea that KW is the same as it was 20 years ago is slowly starting to disappear, however it is definitely shifting miles quicker in Kitchener than Waterloo/Cambridge, Waterloo still complains about 25-30 floor buildings. At the regional level they all think its still 20 years ago, the Regions planning staff is atrocious all they can seemingly do is design infrastructure for cars, (try walking through a regionally designed roundabout or bike on a regional road.)

Kitchener's planning staff on the other hand is miles better, in the last few years they've constructed the downtown cycling grid (pieces are missing in it because the Region refuses to include the infrastructure on their roads), most road reconstruction projects in the city promote traffic calming and active/public transit usage. (It's amazing to see what the currently under construction city owned section of Highland Rd looks like in comparison to the regional section), they are actively pushing developers to have less car dependent designs and the list goes on. If Kitchener's planning staff were to replace the Regions the cuts would not be happening solely because the city has had the ideological change already so they'd recognize that cuts are the opposite of what is needed.
 

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