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Apparently we saved a dandy here in the region:

aroundtheregion.ca | Vintage GRT bus getting a Hollywood makeover

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Edit to add: Picture yoinked from the associated Facebook post, as the article didn't have it without text overlayed.
Damn, that old Kitchener Transit livery was sharp. I'd love to know who did the branding.

2023-09-29-Vintage-Bus-with-Kitchener-Colours.jpg
 
an awful lot of residents who's mental picture of the Region is as things were 20 or more years ago.
More like they're nostalgic for it and would bring it back if they could.

The debate around the LRT was actually fairly divisive (at least by the standards of a midsize Ontario city in 2008), and was often about what kind of place KW should be rather than the utility of the LRT itself. Lots of people saw the LRT as a symbol of unwanted urban development and social changes more broadly (especially demographic changes and the encroachment of the GTA into KW's orbit), and sometimes expressed this directly. Especially in the Waterloo Record (which IIRC opposed the LRT) letters page and comments section. If one or two regional or municipal elections had gone the other way the whole thing could very well have been canned like what happened in London.

"we're turning into Toronto"
There actually were lots of variations of "we don't want to be Toronto" thrown out in the LRT debate, sometimes the phrase verbatim, and sometimes arguments that meant effectively the same thing but were coached in language about population growth and taxes and properly values and such. I always wonder how this debate would have played out in today's political environment. Would it have become a part of a bigger culture war?
 
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Damn, that old Kitchener Transit livery was sharp. I'd love to know who did the branding.

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I really missed it when they became GRT. It looks a little dated to me now, though still pretty sharp. It definitely looked better on the New Flyers than it did on the older GM New Look buses, and weird on the tiny little... things that they ran before that. I'm sure it wasn't the original livery on those little whatever-they-were's, but some of them were still running and had it when I was a kid. The windows were less prominent, and I just remember rolling tubes of yellowish cream.

I still like that logo. It was an arrow for going places, but also had the K and the T. Looked great at the top left of a transfer.
 
Some very nice graphic design came out in the 1960s and 1970s for Ontario Transit systems. GO Transit, Sudbury Transit, Oakville Transit are among my favourites.

I’d love Brampton Transit to bring back the pink lazy-b logo for the 50th anniversary of its city status next year. That was simple and sharp.

And yes, the Sudbury Transit livery was great for what was a small city (it didn’t serve the outlying towns until much later).
 
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.
Having thought more about it, I think the reason staff want to save money here is to be able to put as much funding into improving bus services (where the crowding is most significant) as possible. Suppose GRT gets $X increase in funding. If it does not have to renegotiate the LRT contract with Keolis, then the cost increase will be minimal. Hence they can put most of $X towards bus service. But if the LRT contract has to be renegotiated, then costs will likely increase by a lot (due to inflation), meaning they will have less leftover for bus expansion.

I believe GRT asked for a 4.8M budget increase over 2022. Whether they could get more is a different and important question, but the above point remains as further increases will be limited given the current funding constraints.
 
Why can't the contract be negotiated without a massive increase in cost? You're paying for the marginal increase in service.

How does the operation cost of an LRT compare to a diesel bus?
 
Having thought more about it, I think the reason staff want to save money here is to be able to put as much funding into improving bus services (where the crowding is most significant) as possible. Suppose GRT gets $X increase in funding. If it does not have to renegotiate the LRT contract with Keolis, then the cost increase will be minimal. Hence they can put most of $X towards bus service. But if the LRT contract has to be renegotiated, then costs will likely increase by a lot (due to inflation), meaning they will have less leftover for bus expansion.

I believe GRT asked for a 4.8M budget increase over 2022. Whether they could get more is a different and important question, but the above point remains as further increases will be limited given the current funding constraints.

The point is if the current operating contract doesn't allow for marginally more operating hours that what we already have without renegotiating the contract they really shouldn't be changing the service, sure 8 minute headways instead of 10 minutes is great, but if it comes with a reduction of evening service it doesn't make any sense, I will note that taking the LRT yesterday evening (on the train heading northbound from Fairway at 9:15) it was still full, at least half the seats were full, we also passed the 7 (the suggested alternative route) and it didn't have a single seat, there were already people standing so there was no way it could fit many more people. So GRTs use the 7 as an alternative is going to blow up in their faces really quick when they start getting full busses again. I entirely agree that they should be focusing on the busses since they are more of the issue currently, however they're not going to solve any of the problems by getting rid of late night LRT service, the status quo is working fine for now so they might as well leave it and invest whatever money they'll save by sticking at 10/15 minute headways except this is not how GRT seems to think.
 
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Why can't the contract be negotiated without a massive increase in cost? You're paying for the marginal increase in service.
What if Keolis is only barely breaking even on the current contract? Reopening it would offer them the perfect opportunity to renegotiate it and make it better for them.

Dan
 

Interesting tidbit - A ROW report will be released in March 2024 about the Cambridge-Guelph expansion
 
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Here’s what we’re proposing for bus and train service, fares and advertising in 2024: http://grt.ca/2024

Give us your feedback by filling out the survey at the link above. All feedback will be shared with the Region of Waterloo Council as part of the 2024 budget process.

Share your feedback on the budget 2024 proposals by filling out the survey. Survey closes Dec. 1, 2023. Paper survey forms are available at GRT customer service locations, and can be submitted there.

GRT staff will also be available at the following times and locations to give out information, answer questions and hand out survey forms:

Tuesday, Nov. 14

  • 12 - 2 p.m., Cambridge Centre Station
  • 4 - 6 p.m., Ainslie Street Terminal
Wednesday, Nov. 15

  • 12 - 2 p.m., Fairway Station
  • 4 - 6 p.m., Frederick Station
Thursday, Nov. 16

  • 12 - 2 p.m., University of Waterloo Station
  • 4 - 6 p.m., Conestoga Station
 
Thought it worth mentioning that the south terminal re-evaluation is going to the Regional Planning & Public Work Committee on December 5th. Documents should be up around the 28th.

1699583737292.png


I'll say that as much as my assumption is that this is really about relocating to Ainslie and possibly eliminating the station at Main, I'm actually quite fond of the idea of keeping Main and moving the terminal to Concession.

As far as Dundas / Main goes, I don't actually hate the idea of getting Ion over there... it just needs to be by way of Concession and Main. Mixed traffic would even be fine imo.
 
Took the ION from Central Station (downtown Kitchener) up to UWaterloo Monday evening just after 8pm. Counted 30 people on the train.

Even after 9 (9:24 northbound train from Mill) there's still 30+ people on it, tonight I counted 37, and throughout the trip at least 30 people got on and a bunch got off, the 7 is also reasonably packed (at least tonight as the LRT passed). So there's no way all of us on the LRT could fit. Yes it's anecdotal evidence but from 8-9:30 there really isn't a drop in usage, it stays fairly consistent, maybe after 9:30 it drops off but if 7-8pm can justify 8 minute service surely 8-12am doesn't justify 30 minute service, I really don't know where GRT is getting their justification.

Really what should happen is peak service at 8 minutes (rush hour when trains are packed) and 10/15 minute frequencies every other hour. Anything else is useless.
 

Revised service option for ION Light Rail Transit
The original 2024 service proposal was intended to maximize capacity and respond to some crowding concerns shared by the public, by matching the demand curve to the service, as follows:
Demand and Service levels.jpg

However, the engagement with the community showed strong attachment in maintaining high frequencies in the early morning and the evening (shoulder periods).Taking into consideration this feedback, staff recommend a revised service proposal, starting in June 2024, maintaining the 15mn interval between trains in the shoulder and increasing service in the peak during the summer to a 10mn interval.

The 2024 budget impact associated with this proposal is the same as the proposed LRT service level expansion presented to the Strategic Planning and Budget Committee on October 18, 2023, and as detailed in Appendix A to the 2024 Preliminary Budget book on page 150.

Staff recommend that the proposed service expansion for Light Rail Transit, as outlined in Appendix A to the 2024 Preliminary Budget book on page 150, be amended to reflect “10 minute headways at peak all year” service and to maintain “15 minute headways during shoulder periods all year”. The follow table summarizes the proposed amendment to the service expansion request:
Adjusted Service change proposal.jpg

The main risk to this plan is that 10 min during weekday peaks will not fully alleviate crowding, and standing room only is to be expected during peak hours in the central portion of the line.
 

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