STO misses the mark
STO solves its problems by discouraging riders
I am writing in response to STO’s service changes in Aylmer. I used to take the bus to work in Ottawa - sometimes I would walk 10 minutes to the nearest stop, timing it right. The problem arose coming home. Since I could only take one bus home, I would get on at the Rideau Centre because if I got on the bus near Bank and Wellington, the bus would be full. Also, the timing of buses heading to Aylmer was extremely inconsistent - I could wait 5 to 20 minutes for a bus every day, arriving at the Rideau Centre the same time every day. To counter this inconsistency, I started driving to the Park and Ride at the Galeries Aylmer but, again, the problem was never going to work. It was going home. Even with two buses to choose from, I could still wait 5 to 20 minutes every day at the Rideau Centre and, yes, at times the driver was unable to pick up passengers after Bank Street. To counter that, I started to drive to the Rivermead Park and Ride and take any bus there to Ottawa where I could transfer to get to work. I could take any bus to the Park and Ride to go home.
So, it seems the new STO network solves the problem of passengers trying to get home in the afternoon, but at what cost? The new focal point in Aylmer will be Galeries Aylmer, but there is a plan to build condo towers at the former Canadian Tire location. That plan results in a loss of parking space due to the condos. There are three shelters at the Rivermead Park and Ride - how many at the Galeries? Do they expect passengers to wait in the open for a bus in the winter?
(As for expanding) Rivermead Park and Ride, the simplest solution would be to make that park and ride unavailable to passengers who must now use the Galeries Aylmer. A stroke of genius: solve the problem by not having a problem. If fewer passengers use Rivermead, no need for expansion. Instead of promoting (public) transportation and encouraging passengers to take the bus, they are discouraging passengers, because if the system is not user-friendly, fewer people will use it -- such as myself who now drives to work; it was only 10 minutes longer by bus, so not a big difference for me.
Thanks to the STO for continuing to alienate Aylmerites with their bus “service”.