Dependent on the city’s public transit system since 1985, local resident Patricia Laplante her perceived its downward spiral.
“I’m tired of going into the transfer station and walking on spit and sitting on God-knows-what -- it’s disgusting,” she said. “I don’t expect anything to be totally spotless … that’s impossible, but a lot more cleanliness and if something is spilled on the seat, clean it up!”
In her time using city transit service, she’s seen the shortening of service hours, resulting in her having to take a taxi to get to work on weekends.
During a presentation to the city’s elected officials during Monday’s city council meeting, Laplante shared a long list of concerns, which also included a lack of snow removal around certain bus stops.
Her husband took it upon himself to clear one, she told council, while others have snow piles difficult for her to navigate due to the arthritis in her legs.
Trees need to be trimmed around some bus stops, she said, noting that while some residents have been awarded the chance to submit such concerns to the city with an online survey, “not everybody has access to the internet.”
Receptive to Laplante’s concerns and suggestions, the city’s elected officials commended her for bringing them forth, with Mayor Greg Dionne motioning for city transportation manager Keri Sexmith to organize a meeting with Laplante to discuss her concerns.
“You brought some valid points up,” Dionne noted.
I’m tired of going into the transfer station and walking on spit and sitting on God-knows-what -- it’s disgusting. - Public transit user Patricia Laplante
“I think we need to hear from people like you who are knowledgeable,” Coun. Ted Zurakowski said in agreement.
Although the city’s transportation advisory committee has been suspended, Zurakowski encouraged Laplante to apply anyway, implying that it may have a future.
Zurakowski also noted that Laplante and the community at large should phone the city when they see or experience something that troubles or concerns them.
“Sometimes, unfortunately, it takes a little persistence, but there’s good people there who if they know about the problem, they’ll do something about it,” he said of city administration and staff.
Coun. Rick Orr told Laplante and council that he’d recently met with Colombian Centre residents along with Sexmith and capital projects and planning manager Scott Golding, to discuss their transit concerns.
“There are other people with concerns,” he said.
“These are common issues, and I must say that our good people are looking at it, so your comments are going to be part of the review that they’re doing.”
The city’s public transit system comes at a cost of $1.3 million per year, of which about $715,000 falls on the back of taxpayers, city finance director Joe Day told council, when queried by Zurakowski during Monday’s meeting.
“It’s an expensive service to deliver, overall, and we only re-capture a portion of the costs of operating it.”