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Belleville councillor will take city buses to check out conditions

Egerton Boyce

Belleville Coun. Egerton Boyce looks over the routes he may take in his month-long travels on public transit. Photo by Rebecca Bartlett, QNet News

By Rebecca Bartlett [1]

BELLEVILLE – A Belleville councillor will be putting his car away and relying on public transit for the month of February.

At Monday night’s city council meeting, Egerton Boyce [2] announced that unless he needs to leave Belleville, he will not use his car and will put his bus pass to good use.

In June 2015, in honour of National Bike Month [3], Boyce parked his car and pulled out his bike. After his month of biking to appointments and to grab groceries, Boyce brought his experience back to council, which that month approved a three-year strategic plan to create more bike lanes. With his bus adventure, Boyce said, he hopes that he can get first-hand experience with the pros and cons of using Belleville Transit [4] and help make similar changes.

“I chose February because it’s basically the harshest month of the year in terms of the weather. I’m going to be looking for the conditions of the bus stops, whether we’ve got them maintained. I’m going to be looking for the need for (bus) shelters,” he said.

He also wants to hear from people who depend on public transit, to learn what they think needs to be improved, he said:

http://www.qnetnews.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/recording-for-becca.mp3 [5]

 

Taking transit for a month will change his lifestyle, Boyce said.

“It’s certainly going to save me gas money. A monthly pass for an adult is only $70. I drive a vehicle that is quite a gas guzzler, so my daily in-city commutes, I’m going to save a lot of money.”

And he’ll learn about the needs of people in Belleville who don’t drive a car, he said.

Boyce’s bus travel will include late evenings, to see how many people actually use the service until the 10 p.m. cutoff.

He also wants to find out if the buses are able to complete their route loop in the scheduled 30 minutes, he said, adding that as the city expands and routes are extended to reach more areas, it may be difficult to be back at the terminal every half-hour.

Boyce is going to be sure to get on the bus at least once a day every day, he said, and he plans to go on all the routes more than once and at various times of day to see what it’s like for people who take the bus to get to and from work, school or shopping.

Mayor Taso Christopher will be tagging along on some of his trips, he said, explaining that Christopher is big advocate for bus shelters and is very pro-transit.

Boyce joked that the only problem he thinks he’ll have with taking the bus is making sure that if he’s buying frozen groceries, he makes it to the bus stop in time to avoid a half-hour wait.

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