Peterborough Transit changes support demand and protect customers and employees

full bike rack

Bus terminal

Peterborough, ON - Peterborough Transit has been closely monitoring ridership as the community returns to more normal activities during Stage 2 of the Provincial Framework for Reopening and is making temporary changes support demand and protect the health and well-being of transit customers and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As businesses increase hours of service and more people resume activities with public-health recommended precautions in place, Peterborough Transit has seen crowding on-board buses and increased congestion at the Bus Terminal as buses arrive at the same time for centralized transfers between routes. Crowding makes it very difficult for riders and staff to maintain physical distancing.

“We’ve heard concerns from customers and employees about the crowded conditions at the Terminal and on buses. Despite our efforts to reduce crowding with overflow buses, the space limitations at the Terminal and seat restrictions on buses have made physical distancing almost impossible,” said Peterborough Transit Manager Laurie Stratton. “Our service is already strained, and we need to make these changes to be able to accommodate more people as they’re moving around the community.”

Peterborough Transit has been operating with reduced hours of service, 8 a.m. to 7:20 p.m., during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting Sunday, June 28, Transit is resuming regular service hours, 5:50 a.m. to midnight. Accessible transit services will expand to regular hours to accommodate mobility customers.

Changes to the bus route system prioritize physical distancing for customers at the Terminal, bus stops, and onboard buses. The planning process considered both current and past patterns of ridership, as well as forecasted rider numbers based on phased reopening of businesses. Customer feedback on current routes was also considered.

While the safety of customers and employees is the priority, the route changes may also reduce travel times for customers by providing more direct point-to-point trips. Five of the nine routes will go directly into the Terminal while other routes link to the network at various transfer locations, allowing customers to transfer between routes at the Terminal and bus stop locations. With buses linking at various locations in the City, the new transit system has efficiencies because four buses will service their assigned regions without having to navigate through the downtown.

In addition to the nine regular routes, two additional community bus routes have been added, for a total of three routes serving popular destinations such as medical centres, shopping centres, recreation venues.

With route changes, some bus stop locations are changing. Transit customers are encouraged to view the new route map and schedule, posted at the Terminal, bus shelters and are available online at www.peterborough.ca/newtransit.

“Changes to transit can be difficult for customers. It can mean changing travel habits and learning new connections,” Stratton said. “Our transit staff are here to help riders map out their new routes. Look for our customer service ambassadors at the Terminal, at key locations around the network or on the buses, email us at transitoperations@peterborough.ca or call 705-745-0525. Thank you to customers and the community for your support and patience as we work through these changes together.”

Peterborough Transit is preparing to launch its Google Transit tool that will be available through Google Maps and through its website at www.peterborough.ca/transit to assist customers with trip planning. When on board buses, customers will not only hear their stops, but will also hear the routes available to transfer to announced at each stop location. Bus Drivers will communicate during trips to support transfers as customers get used to the new schedule.

Peterborough Transit is putting other measures in place for the safety of customers and employees including masks, face shields and gloves for bus drivers. Protective shields are being installed around the driver’s area and transit will continue enhanced cleaning of buses and high-touch surfaces. Seating limits will remain in place to support physical distancing on buses. Riders are strongly encouraged to wear masks and use hand sanitizer.

For now, customers are asked to continue to board buses at the rear doors only, unless they need to use the accessibility features at the front doors. Fares are not being collected at this time. Peterborough Transit is putting in measures for touchless payment and onboard safety that will allow for front-of-bus boarding. Changes will be announced soon.

Feedback form for Transit service changes

For an up-to-date listing on municipal services affected by the COVID-19 emergency, please visit peterborough.ca/COVID19.

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For further information, members of the media are invited to contact the undersigned:

Brendan Wedley, Manager of Communication Services

City of Peterborough

705-742-7777 ext. 1636