Starting on Sept. 1, fully 41 of 43 routes operated by the London Transit Commission (LTC) will see new scheduling or routing – including those travelling to, through or around Western.
The moves are part of a five-year service plan intended to ‘right-size’ the frequency and location of bus services to match riders’ needs, explained LTC Planning Director Katie Burns.
For buses headed into Western, the main changes include:
- Two new express routes during peak hours, including #93 travelling from White Oaks Mall to Masonville Place via Wharncliffe/Western roads and #94 from Argyle Mall to Natural Sciences Building via Dundas Street;
- Fewer buses stopping in front of Alumni Hall, where congestion has become a problem and where as many as eight buses now queue at one time, and more stops at Natural Sciences Building and on the periphery of campus;
- The #6 Richmond bus will not go into the heart of campus at Natural Sciences or Alumni Hall, but will instead travel north as far as Windermere Road, along Perth Drive and past the University Drive residences and southbound out the main gates;
- Higher frequency travel during peak times (early morning, late afternoon) and at peak locations and reduced frequency in off-peak times; and
- Extended late-night service – to 1 a.m. – on nine city routes, including several travelling to or near Western and/or downtown.
All Western University and Fanshawe College students pay for bus passes through their student fees.
The Wharncliffe/Wellington/Richmond corridors see bus ridership of 18,000 per day during the school year.
Burns said the new express buses should be particularly helpful, as they will have more direct routes and fewer stops (in most cases, bus stops every 500 metres rather than the 250-400-metre distance other routes have, leading to faster trips to and from campus than conventional routes).
Riders on the #94 Express, for example, should have a ride 10 minutes shorter than those travelling the #2 Dundas during peak times, Burns said.
The #106, travelling roughly the same route towards and from campus, will continue to use the Natural Sciences and Alumni Hall stops and operate every eight minutes (more frequently than before) during peak morning hours.
Burns said the changes are based on continuous feedback and should help address concerns about overcrowding, late buses and routes poorly aligned with rider needs.
Some routes with lower ridership will operate less frequently than before, she said.
Each affected stop has notifications affixed to them to inform users of the changes.
The only routes unaffected are #36 and #37, which serve industrial areas.
LTC’s online tool that identifies routes and schedules will reflect the changes on Sept. 1, but people wanting an early peek at how and where changes will take place on each specific route will soon be able to can apply a Sept. 1 date to the ‘Plan Your Trip’ section of that page.
LTC is also printing 50,000 new paper maps for distribution, Burns said.
Nina Joyce, Co-ordinator of Student Benefits for the University Students’ Council, said she hasn’t received many inquiries so far. “Students are pretty tech-savvy and so they just go on the LTC website.”
Even so, display screens in the UCC will also convey the newest information about route changes. The LTC will have a visible presence at its booth during Orientation Week, where foldable paper maps will also be made available.