Fredericton Transit sets June start date for Sunday bus service

Fredericton residents will be able to catch a Sunday bus starting June 23.This comes after years of transit users calling for Sunday service, as businesses in the city increasingly began opening all weekend long. In May, the city’s Para Transit service will also begin running on Sunday for registered riders.”Transit riders in the city have been clear for many years that accessing the city’s bus service on Sundays is a priority for them,” Coun. Bruce Grandy, who chairs the city’s mobility committee, said in a statement.”It is my hope the new Sunday service model will inspire more people to take the bus in the future.”Transit manager Charlene Sharpe told a council committee this week that Sunday service will run from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.And it will pilot a new route. The Crosstown Route will travel from Two Nations Crossing on the north side to the Corbett Centre on the south side, with connections to buses running east and west on both sides of the river.It will feature four major connection points — at Maple Street and St. Mary’s Street, Kings Place, the Regent Mall and the Corbett Centre.Sunday transit service will run southbound to the Corbett Centre. (Submitted by City of Fredericton)”This route is not going to be an express route … It’s doing a lot of stops, but it will become a main corridor,” Sharpe said. Some route names will be different for Sunday transit, Sharpe noted, so customers can see more clearly where the bus is travelling.But route names and stops will not change during the rest of the week, to avoid confusion for existing customers.”We don’t want to touch people’s lives Monday to Saturday — it’s working for them,” she said.”We’re introducing this strictly as Sunday, try it out, does this work better for you? So that we can ease in … and it’s not going to be a drastic change for customers.”The new Sunday route system also will address one of the most frequent complaints from transit users, she said. “One of the biggest things that we’ve heard from our customers is they have to go over to Kings Place to complete their journey,” Sharpe said. “A lot of them work, play and want to shop and do their things on the north side. This is going to allow them to do that.”The Sunday route will include east-west travel on the city’s north side from a new transit hub on Maple Street. (Submitted by City of Fredericton)Speaking during the committee meeting, Mayor Kate Rogers was happy with the changes.”To me, that east-west connection on the north side is critical. It was nonsensical, this coming over to have to go back,” she said. “I’m really happy to trial this on a Sunday, and I’m sure the data that we gather will maybe inform future moves.”Last year, buses were equipped with new technology to collect data on which routes people use the most and when.Sharpe has told council that data collection — along with customer feedback — would be used to evaluate potential route changes.The city has also hired six new transit operators to staff the additional day, Sharpe said. City council approved funding for the addition of Sunday service as part of its 2024 budget last fall. It also green-lit some fare increases, which came into effect in January, in order to partly cover the cost of the extra day.Meanwhile, construction will get underway this summer on the new Maple Street transit hub, Melissa Steeves, the city’s assistant manager of engineering, design and construction, told the committee in a separate presentation.It will include a new pedestrian crosswalk along Maple Street, between Ring Road and St. Mary’s Street, to allow safe crossing to the stop.

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