Kingston Transit

Kingston Transit
In 2004 the City of Kingston released the Transportation Master Plan, which outlined current ridership trends and attempted to forecast the transportation needs of Kingstonians in the year 2026.  Since the document makes zero reference to hover cars, personal jetpacks and tele-commuting, it’s clearly lacking in the realistic expectations department.  That said, notable highlights from the conceptual transit network of 2026 include park’ n ride stations, service to rural areas, a third crossing, and so forth. It also infers that there will be an increased demand for public transportation, which got me thinking about the current state of public transit in Kingston. Accordingly this week’s poll asks:
[poll id=”26″]
I do not ride Kingston Transit, and in the decade I’ve lived in this city I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually taken a city bus.  As someone who is fond of public transportation, that seems a bit odd.  For me, it’s more habit than anything else, as I’m used to walking most days. Even in the dead of winter, I would rather trudge through 3 feet of snow on my way to work, than have to transfer from one bus to another, and arrive late to the office. My boss kind of likes it when I show up on time, and from what I hear from friends who regularly struggle with Kingston Transit, they’re not always on time.  It might seem great for a bus to show up early at a given stop, but when people are relying on transpo being at a certain place at a certain time, commuter chaos ensues. If I could rely on the bus being on time, I would be more apt to take it, but otherwise for longer trips I’ll use the car so long as gas prices aren’t prohibitive.

What’s you’re reason for not taking the bus? What should the city do to improve things before hover cars become a reality? Drop off some comments below.

Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

54 thoughts on “Kingston Transit

  • Funny I take the bus all winter long and have since moving here two years ago and make to work on time 99% of the time… probably as much as anyone who drives. It the transit system perfect far from it but methinks the Kingston people who actually complain the loudest never use the system in the first place. For a small city I think it is quite efficient and while we'd all love more routes or at least more frequent buses is that really realistic for the tax base?

  • It makes no sense that in order to get 10 minutes away, I need to take 2 buses. Why does it take me over an hour to get from downtown to the Cataraqui Centre? Why are the buses never on time? It seems like the system isn't designed with efficiency in mind. More people would take the bus to the mall if it was an express route, even if that express route (with, say, 4 or 5 stops total) only leaves once an hour in either direction: downtown terminal, somewhere near Queen's, Kingston Centre, at the Cineplex theatre and the Cataraqui Centre? I'd definitely take THAT bus!

    • Exactly. KT is unattractive to you because it's actually slower, less convnient than other options. That will always be true for some people in niche situations, but right now, it's true for all Kingstonians. This is a big problem in need of big ideas.

    • Don't know any reason why it would take you over an hour to get from downtown to the Cataraqui Centre. It only takes me half an hour to do the same: 15 min. downtown to the Kingston Centre, and another 15 min. to the Cat. Ctre.

  • I take the bus three times a week and have only once had an issue with the schedule (…the bus was early!) Every other time the bus has been on schedule.

    With the new 7 route I now can get to within a 2 minute walk of my workplace with one transfer. It does take 45 minutes from door to door, but that's the equivalent of Rideaucrest to the Invista Centre in 45 minutes which, as public transit goes, is not terrible.

    A city of this size can only sustain so many routes, so adding routes might not be feasible, but altering existing ones might help service the under serviced areas.

  • Kingston transit doesn't need incrimental improvements to get more people riding the bus, we need to radically re-think how public transit works in the city to get it past the tipping point at which people will choose the bus over driving.

    – Most 1/2 hour routes should be every 15 minutes. Major arteries should never be more than 7 1/2 minutes from getting another bus.
    – Major routes start earlier, go later. Bus service to Amherstview should not stop at 5:00pm
    – Rack and roll starts in March, not April
    – Dedicated transit lates with bus-proporty traffic light synchronization on high-traffic routes (as in Ottawa, for example) so that taking the bus is actually faster than driving.
    – GPS-equipped busses (which we've already got) connected to a network with smartphone apps and text message capability deployed to push a notification to your phone when the bus is late/on the way.
    – A hundred ways to pay for the bus on impulse. Use change, use bills, use a credit card, use a phone, use paypass, use a KT gift card sold at every corner store, use a bar code printed from a computer or displayed on an iPod screen.
    – Major stops have solar-powered ticker clocks showing the actual GPS-calculated time to the next bus arrival
    – A greater variety of vehicles to service different levels of need.
    – Big tax breaks to employers who give transit passes to their staff
    – Try-before-you-buy system for monthy subscriptions to transit. Distribute "5 free rides on the bus" cards to new neighbourhoods, employers and under-reached markets.

    Those changes need to happen in concert with a shift in the way the city thinks about development:

    – The bus stop is the centre of new developments. The bus pulls right indoors to new retail developments. Priority parking places never go to cars when the space could be a bus terminal (The bus stop at the rio-can centre is an embarassment)
    – Developers meet minimum density requirements for their communities or pay fines to subsidize the low-density transit service to their neighbourhoods (no bus service to westbrook is ridiculious)

    Kingston has been making good investments in transit over the years, but we don't see returns in ridership because we're spending more money to serve the same people. That needs to change; public transit needs to be so fast, so easy and so conveient that it isn't overlooked by people who turn their nose up at the bus right now. That means a leap ahead in the way Kingston thinks about sustainable transportation, not just free wifi.

    • Fantastic list of recommendations Eric. The City of Kingston should definitely pay attention and adopt these sorts of practices. Not only would they put us in line with other cities, but they would also help to make Kingston become a leader in public transportation. I think I mentioned this in the comments to last week's poll, but I would really be interested in hearing what the Mayoral candidates are saying with respect to public transpo. Who has the leadership and vision to make these sorts of ideas reality?

      • Let's be honest, the mayoral and council candidates know that kingston voters are reeling from years of big-budget projects that haven't been paying off… it's hard for your average stable-income Kingston municipal voter to get excited about something like transit. You'll only loose votes by announcing innitiatives in this city right now.

        Floyd Patterson is counting on getting votes this way. He blogs: "no more big-ticket challenges right away, please. Council-approved debt has reached the all-time high…" etc and goes on to advocate for a tax and spending freeze.

        No one is going to radically re-imagine anything in a climate like that. Daniel Woolf wrote recently of Queen's finanical situation "let's do less with less", and was lauded as a visionary. That's the reality in kingston right now.

        But what Kingston Transit needs is not "less" of anything.

        • At the rate debt has been added (+inevitable bridge, +likely aquatic center), and year after year of way above inflation tax increases we'll soon get to the point where a fiscal conservative stance isn't a choice anymore, it will be required. Particularly now that we'll be in for many years of senior levels cutting back.

          Strangely its tended to be the most (claimed to be )environmental minded councilors who take pro car positions when they vote. Downtown monthly permit parking passes are way under priced to the point it doesn't make any sense to take the bus if you have a car and a pass (which there is a waiting list for being they are such a deal). This term council refused to increase them the proposed 6% that only would have caught up to inflation since the last increase, effectively lowering the parking price over time while transit increases While single fare bus rates increased as much as 30% in 06.

          The last motion on the new office space (failed on a close vote, most of the "left" being for it) tried to require the new city office to provide a city owned parking space for each of the 200 staff. Strangely supposed pro sustainability/Green party member Matheson took the pro car, anti transit/active side on both of those, which one wouldn't have expected with the way he talks.

  • A lot of these ideas are already starting to become reality. I would encourage readers to take 5 minutes to view the following report prepared by the folks at Kingston Transit: .

    There is leadership in place starting to move ahead on infrastructure and policy changes noted by Eric. There is a committment to budget and resources to make transit a competitive transportation choice in Kingston.

    I expect Transit in Kingston to look much different 24 months from now.

    • I hope this is true! The transit report you linked to is an awesome document. There are some places where I think it still doesn't dream big enough, but it talks about the right issues: a transit-first attitude in citizens' minds, and a transit-first attitude in new development.

  • I ride KT perhaps once or twice per month. I will probably never become a KT user in the true sense until the convenience of operating my car is eliminated. The subsidies provided from all levels of government that make it easier for me to own, drive and park my car have to be rolled back so that KT and other forms of non-automotive travel can compete both from a cost and convenience perspective.

    Our strategy should use a systems approach where we have a no-cost "anybody walks on" transit accompanied by significantly more expensive vehicle parking and removal of on street parking in favour of bicycle lanes.

  • I don’t take the bus to work as I’m close enough to walk, but did in the recent past. Nowadays, I do find occasion to take the bus on occasion to shop and run errands.

    The system has definitely been improving since I moved to Kingston ten years ago, but I still have a number of pet peeves.

    (1) The new automated display and audio announcement of stops is a great improvement, when it works. Of the last ten bus trips I’ve taken, the system has been out of order twice, and the audio announcement has either been turned off or the volume turned down quite low once.

    (2) I don’t know whether drivers are in a hurry or not paying attention, but they miss stops more often than you might expect, even when the bell has been rung.

    (3) There is nothing more frustrating than checking the schedule online and giving what I believe is ample time to walk to the bus stop, only to see the bus whizzing by several minutes AHEAD of schedule, facing the prospect on a weekend of waiting an hour for the next bus.

    (4) I agree with a commenter above that some bus stops are a disgrace. I won’t take the bus to the RioCan Centre for that reason. Also, many stops are worse in the winter, as high snow banks can make entering and leaving the bus difficult. I’ve often joked that I should carry a portable shovel with me to clear stops of snow as I wait for the bus! I can only imagine how difficult this can make it for seniors and people with disabilities.

    (5) And I know it’s the lament of transit riders everywhere, but I beg my fellow bus riders, please don’t plant yourself right in front of the exit doors!

    • yes, so maybe the culture needs to change too, not just the service. It's true that many KT drivers turn off the auto announcements, and it's true that I hear stories of drivers whizzing by stops, ahead of schedule, very ,very frequently.

      This is a harder problem to tackle: how to bring bus drivers on board to change the tone.

    • Your pet peeves are MINE too. (1) The announcement system being turned off leaves me angry and I don't want to hang onto that mood to be able to phone a complaint later. They get away with it. Sometimes it is off, then the driver leaves it off–a refusal to rectify. When I ask if it is broken, they say yes. (3) Drivers leaving transfer points ahead of time has caused me personally many distressing situations over the entire 30 years of use. It may be happening less now. But 1 event like that in a year for each rider is a lot. I have used KT for more than 30 years, don't drive.

  • I have a bus stop at the end of my driveway which goes past my daughters school, and to my place of work, yet I cannot take the bus because while I can get to work on time there is no bus that will get me back to my daughter before the afterschool program ends. I can nearly walk there faster than I can get there by bus, but not quite. If they would run number 3 every 15 I could do it. Commenters above refer to the 2004 report and recommendations, which I have read; what is discouraging to me is 15 minute bus service has been recommended in various reports over time, as long ago as 1971. And yet the bus service is not substantially different than it was when I moved in from the township to go to Queens in 1982. An incremental approach to improvements is not going to get our system where it needs to be to achieve the not-very-lofty 11% of trips that we are supposedly aiming for at KT.

  • Eric has made most of the sensible suggestions already. I have just one personal thing: cut the ridiculous bureaucracy or change the drivers attitudes that they have to abide by the absolute letter of every law when it suits them but not when it doesn't. I have a folding bike (a Brompton – one that folds very small indeed). In just about any other country in any other city in the world, drivers see that this is smaller than the average shopping bag and pay it no attention (it can fit under a seat). But, oh no, not in Kingston. No, it has to be unfolded and put on the racks, even if this later inconveniences a regular bike user who wants to rack their bike – as inevitably happens. Oh, and of course the driver tries to claim that "this guy is giving me a hard time, wants to make trouble" to his control room when I point out that maybe, just maybe he might have had some common sense in the first place. Jeez…

  • I ride the bus to work everyday, and go to the RioCan Centre, the Mall, Queen's and St. Lawrence College by bus as much times as I do by car when friends can give me a lift. While I would love KT to be like the great, dense transit cities, reality makes this a lot harder:

    Geography – Kingston is split by the Cat River and a wetland complex/prison. Those automatically disperse your population significantly. the nature of development in the townships, with its meandering, curvilinear roads, also share some blame. Doesn't help efficiency all that much but unless we can magically realign all those neighbourhoods, getting to Point A to Point B will always be slower in those areas. The lack of bus service to Westbrook is absolutely logical until that stretch of Princess develops significantly. The Westbrook population is small, there's little to no foot traffic along that stretch of Princess Street. It'd be cost prohibitive to run a route down that way. Maybe if the future Cat West neighbourhoods built out, then we might see service extended westward.

    Resources – You want tax breaks for developers and businesses who support transit, but you want more frequent buses that start earlier and end later. You'll need more buses, drivers, maintenance personnel. It's never a one-time expenditure. It's an ongoing cost that Kingston taxpayers will have to bear. If you give those business groups tax breaks, you shrink your revenue. Last I checked, no taxpayer in the developed world likes to pay more taxes (except for maybe Scandinavia, but they also have these crazy cities and ideas about egalitarian living).

    Express Bus – I love the idea of an express bus to places like the malls and Queen's and SLC. The new 18 (Queen's/SLC/VIA Station/Bus Terminal) is exactly such an idea. Unfortunately, it only goes one-way for now, so it'll be interesting to see if riders turn it into a popular route.

    Ticker Clocks – I ride VIVA a lot, and while it's great to show me when it arrives, it actually doesn't speed up service that much since I'm there waiting anyhow. To be fair, I think it does help distract waiting riders when they see that a bus is coming in 2 min….for 15 min. Maybe they're less annoyed when they get on. So it might be useful as a calming device. Again, you gotta buy those things and pay technicians and equipment for upkeep.

    Variety of Vehicles – KT already has 3 different models of buses with 3 different capacities. How many more does a transit service need?

    Better Bus Stops – Agreed. The bus stop at the rio-can centre is atrocious.

    Vehicle Parking – Making it more expensive makes sense, but there are significantly more drivers, so who's voice will be the loudest? I dunno. As for removing on-street parking, it has been shown before that it helps calm traffic speeds and provides a buffer between pedestrians and vehicles. That's certainly a trade-off to consider. One might consider replacing the on-street parking (or a vehicle lane) for transit priority lanes. The upcoming Williamsville Urban Design Study might be a good forum to raise this point. Transit prioritization lights might be easier to implement. I have no idea what the cost.

    Drivers – We're not the only ones with driver issues, that's for sure (see TTC). I don't think anyone's yet found a perfect solution for it.

    I know I'm definitely harping on costs a lot, but if we want to talk about tangible improvements, we need to talk about what we can actually afford and maintain in perpetuity based on what we have. That's what I would call an actual sustainable transit system.

    • I'm glad someone finally spoke up about costs, I agree with everything you've said here. It would be incredibly difficult to implement a radical change rather than the incremental ones we're used to. Who pays for it?

      One thing I'd like to add, before getting into that, is I would LOVE to see improved Sundays & Evenings – keep the 30 minute service on most routes. 1 hour service is just painful which means I can't justify leaving my car at home. The next thing would be extended night time hours, midnight or 1am please… good for the later evenings out. Neither of these suggestions would add significant cost. No new buses would be required and additional required man-hours would be moderate.

      Our fares, relatively speaking, are incredibly cheap. Look at OCTranspo for instance. Cash fares range from 3.25 to 5.25 (not including the O-Train and children 6-11). Monthly passes range from $91.50 to 141.75!! TTC cash fare is $3, which doesn't cover extra fare required in some areas. The Metropass is 121.00, almost double the KT monthly pass.

      My monthly pass has cost me $65/month since I moved to Kingston 6 years ago. How many people would it hurt jumping the cost to $90/month, and how much would that really help service?

      I'm not saying Kingston Transit can't improve by any means. I've been a regular rider for 6 years, but we have to be realistic: someone has to pay for the service and we don't have the population of Toronto or Ottawa to foot the bill in one blow.

    • I forgot to mention two things:

      1. Why does Rack & Roll have to be discontinued in the winter at all? It might not be as widely used in the winter, but on the less inhospitable days I try to keep biking to work. It would be very nice if I could rack up if the weather turns on me like I do in the summer.

      2. I like the use of the older photo. An Orion V, which KT no longer has any of in service with the old style fare box that was replaced about 2 years ago. (not meant in a negative tone, just poking fun!)

    • These are sensible points, and you're right to call me out on what I described as a "radical radical shift"… what Kingston really needs is a series of incrimental imrpovements, but the shift is in how we think about transit, not necessarily in an overnight implimentation of new strategies.

      Geography: challenges, but not insudountable ones. Cities have solved transit problems like ours before. In its report Kingston didn't rule out on-demand transit for low-density regions. That's a can of worms… but it's a case study to show that these problems really do have clever solutions.

      Resources: there's no dichotomy here: partially rewarding business for subsidizing bus passes means incentivising business to give MORE money to the city where they would not have otherwise. A well planned tax break can achieve an otherwise diffcult-to-fund social agenda while also acting as stimulus and actually increasing revenue. True, I'm talking about a best of best-case scenarios, but this is a complex issue with money going both ways. Transit costs money, and it makes money; it grows cities, and it grows economies. Someday, the sausage-making will have to be done, but it would be a shame to not dream big now for fear of it.

      Ticker Clocks: Nope, it doesn't speed up busses, and maybe it's calming, but that's not the point. GPS arrival systems make the service more convenient, more transparent, and more attractive to time-conscious travellers. The point is to get more people on busses.

      Variety of busses: Anecdotally, how about one at each end of the scale: A longer articualted bus to carry more people on new express routes, and a fleet of smaller vehicles to do on-demand shuttling to hubs. That's one model, there are others. Thinking about vehicle variety is part of the equation.

      Parking: Agree 100%. Park and ride is a part of this.

      Drivers: Why are taxi drivers always so much more engaged and happy than bus drivers? This is a question that puzzles me… less monotounous? But that can't be all there is to it.

    • Yes – they are listening.

      NextBus is about 1 of more than a dozen providers in the market. Many transit providers jump at NextBus because it is quick and cheap. Unfortunately, it is not scaleable to do a lot of things behind the scenes to the extent that some other systems are.

      Kingston Transit has already secured budget to implement GPS vehicle tracking. There is no reason that this won't be implemented inside the next 24 months. They are also working on several other technology related improvements to the service.

      • It sounds like you're far more up to date on the current behind the scenes work at Kignston Transit that I am. I hadn't seen any GPS vehicle tracking announcement, but I'm very excited about this! What platforms will the prediction data be available on?

        • A technology has not been selected yet and thus no announcement. Whatever is selected will be based on the premise of an open, shared system that is non-proprietary to the fullest extent possible.

          The most sophistiaced systems now available push prediction information simultaneously in any format you want to see it – RSS, Facebook, Twitter, SMS, XML, and many have APIs to allow almost anything to happen after the data is published.

          Fortunately many have gone before KT so there is a lot of experience in the transit industry to draw upon.

  • This comment is about the survey itself, not KT.: Why does this survey not include an option for current users? I AM A REGULAR USER NOW. The responses of the most important people–the ones paying the way for the critics who don't actually use it–are excluded–how horrible, and biasing.

    • Sorry, it wasn't intended on being horrible or biased. When I came up this week's poll question, I wanted to hear from non-riders, and see what it would take to get them on board. In the end, the goal was increased ridership. That doesn't mean that the opinion of regular riders is any less important, rather you likely have a better understanding of areas that could be improved. In any case, we all have horror stories involving public transpo, and for whatever reason non-users chose to go another way. Is it because the service is too expensive, unreliable, inconvenient, old fashioned? In a nutshell, that's the direction I hoped the resulting conversation would flow. Thankfully, it's developed in more directions than I could have imagined. Hope that answers your concerns.

      • You avoided the point I made, that the survey could have included an option “I am a regular rider now”, and might have provided useful number comparisons.

        • Really, I thought I addressed why your proposed option was not included? As I previously stated, I wanted to hear from irregular riders, rather than current riders. Sure the views of current riders such as yourself are important, and retaining you as a rider is essential, however figuring out how to improve service and attract new folks was ultimately the goal. Hence the poll question "What would it take for you to become a regular Kingston Transit user?" Your answer doesn't fit with the intent of the poll.

    • This poll was clearly directed at people who don't ride the bus in Kingston. That's the whole point of the poll, to see why people DON'T ride.

    • Actually its the ones not using it paying the way for the ones that do being fares will never remotely cover costs ;) Kingston Transit had revenue of $7 million and change….operating expenses over $14 million. So even a small percent increase in service levels quickly turn into a big hit on the taxpayer. The entire operating budget of the city is only $280m

  • I wrote up a few of these comments and sent them around to candidates. Floyd patterson, who I actually quoted earlier as a fiscal conservative, actually just asked me if he could use some of these comments as the basis for a section on transit in a post about student concerns he has heard while canvassing.

    So Harvey it looks like the Candidates ARE talking about these issues. But you and I know that the discussion started here.

    • Wow, that's great to hear. I would love an opportunity to do an interview with all of the candidates, but I am not sure if they'd be open to all the questions I'd want to ask. Thanks for the info.

      • Some of them would, definitely. I was at the SpeakUpKingston launch yesterday at the Chamber and mixd'n'mingled some with the candidates. Kingstonist came up a few times. You're on the radar, and these guys want your readers' votes.

  • Patterson wasn't really a fiscal conservative (for LVEC, Invista and everything else during his term). Councilors have had different priorities that past couple terms but there really haven't been any fiscal conservatives consistently concerned with spending.

    The city has no way of offering tax breaks for transit use. Transit can negotiate group rates like the students get. Not that it would make much sense for an employer to provide blanked transit passes when employees would live in a variety of locations including those not serviced by transit.

    Most of the $14m in expenses is the drivers and buses on the road. To double the frequency to 15 min service you'd almost double the expenses with only a marginal ridership increase. Adding 3% or more on to property taxes just for transit isn't going to be a consideration regardless of who is on council.

    "Why are taxi drivers always so much more engaged and happy than bus drivers?"

    Bus drivers don't live on tips like taxi drivers do…

    • It's not his record, but it's his platform now. : " We’re past the big- spending peak – it’s time for a property tax-paying pause! Council undermines our affordable housing program while it makes the existing housing stock more and more unaffordable with unending increases in property tax; let’s get some of this regressive property tax off the backs of owners and tenants … We’re already committed to an aquatic health centre at the Invista centre, a revitalized Memorial Centre with an exciting new pool, widening John Counter Boulevard,
      continuing the replacement of out-of-date under-street services. So, no more big-ticket challenges right away, please." and

      The tax breaks would not come from the city, they'd come higher up. The city would lobby for them. Employers wouldn't provide the passes to everyone, they'd offer to subsidize part of the cost for employees who buy them. Worth noting that many employers are already doing this. Startek.

      Maybe I'm crazy for thinking that doubling the frequency of *some routes* would dramatically increase ridership, but I strongly believe it would. The attraction of major cities' transit systems for me is the walk up to any transit stop and know that a bus/streetcar is on its way in the next few minutes factor. The closer kingston gets to that, the more attractive riding the bus gets. In part.

  • I don't think express buses are really necessary in a city of this size. Kingston Transit would be better off increasing more routes to every 15 minutes (especially on Sunday) before even thinking about express routes. Besides, an express bus running every 30 minutes isn't very useful.

    • I agree Andrew. It doesn't have to be one OR the other. The report doesn't do a great job of explaining how the local routes will also change to increase frequency, but this is part of the plan. The report does indicate that express routes will run at a minimum of 15 minute frequency during peak hours.

  • Making special phone calls to the disabled to tell them that, because new bus stops have no curbs and the ramp is too steep, we should go back to using the Access Bus (which costs the taxpayer more to provide) is not appropriate. We''re not kicked off Kingston Transit per se, but we've been explicitly told that we shouldn't use it if we want to get to our destination in a timely fashion.

    I was using Kingston Transit almost full time until the transit manager changed and we started to get new rules to restrict our ability to use it.

  • I would take Kingston Transit more often if it were cheaper to ride with my children. The fare for my eight and ten year old boys is $2 each. So unless we are travelling farther than 3km from our downtown home, we take a cab. Most places we go cost about $7 or $8 iincluding tip. Each time we leave the house for an appointment, I ask myself, "Is it worth $6.25 to take a bus?" (which is 2 blocks away)
    Most of the time we choose to walk.

  • having the bus whiz by ahead of schedule and not stopping as I'am running in front of it trying to wave it down.
    driver looked right at me and kept going. i was less then 20 feet from the stop he had ample time to slow down.
    I've seen this happen to many other's as well less then 7 feet and yelling there heads off. apparently from what I've heard bus's don't stop for anyone running towards them now. It's a shame drivers want a smoke break more importantly then stopping for someone when THEY are ahead of schedule.

  • I have been riding Kingston Transit to work on the Base for the past 4 months or so. I get on in the west end, transfer at the Cat and downtown to get me to the base in aprox 55 mins in the am. I’m ok with that cause it takes me 30-40 mins in my car. I’ve met a few fellow commuters and enjoy the conversation, listen to the news on my mp3 player etc.. I get to work the same time everyday, no probs. I havent been late or missed a transfer once. The drivers are generally excellent. Good people trying to do their best and be as helpful as they can. There is the odd numpty but the rude riders far out weight them.

    Getting home though is a mess. Not KT’s fault as the traffic is out of this world. No way to keep a bus on schedule, and it has an accordion effect thoughout the city…. The issue here folks as I see it is the fact that there is way too many cars on the road. Period! I generally walk down to RMC and get whatever bus there to get me home. While I’m sitting there I watch 8 in every 10 veh go by with one person in it. There’s your problem. I’ve tried commuting with co-workers. Guess what. No go, as most people do not want to be inconvienced one iotta. God forbid they can’t drive to Timmy’s at lunch for a fix! You smart people out there need to figure out a way to get lazy people out of their cars, walk/ride more and utilize public transit.

    Having said that I do have a suggestion. I would argue that the biggest issue in kingston today is the ungodly traffic both ways across that causeway during rush hour. At present I can walk from CFB down to RMC faster than my co-workers can drive it at 4pm. Not to mention the lineup coming the other way which is lined up to downtown timmy’s… KT currently cators very well to queen’s, st lawrence, startek etc.. It’s time to start catering to CFB Kingston. The vast majority of the traffic issues in this city is created by the commuters coming and going from CFB and the East End. You need to figure out a way to get those people out of their cars in into public transportation. How I’m not sure, maybe express busses coming downtown from the west end and keep going to CFB? Currently like I said it takes roughly 50 mins to come across the city too CFB. I think and express bus might cut that to 35 or 40 maybe. That might get some people out of their cars. Keep in mind that there are 4 thousand workers on CFB and half of those live in the west end. This I heard during a town council meeting. Just my thoughts… Hope the input helps….

  • I'm relatively new to Kingston having come from Ottawa. After witnessing the endless failure of Ottawa to implement light rail while bus service became slower, more expensive and less reliable, I came to the conclusion that we need to go back to streetcars, especially on the old commercial streets which were in fact streetcar routes.

    I think Kingston could use a streetcar up and down Princess from, at a minimum, the Cataraqui Centre and across the river, with Division or Barrie to King being streetcar only. You could turn the downtown Princess stretch into a quieter, walkable area with the sidewalks widened dramatically allowing for restaurants to have outdoor patios, for buskers, etc. This section of the streetcar could be free like the C-Train is free in downtown Calgary.

    Streetcars will also change development patterns by promoting a densification of development as has been the case in Portland Oregon where new streetcars were put in nine years ago. Concerns about gentrification are justified and I think it is critical that a Princess streetcar would have to be accompanied by a renewed effort for affordable housing quotas and rent controls.

    They're also quieter and cleaner for pedestrians and residents. They're nicer for riders because they're bigger and don't jerk side to side pulling in and out of traffic. The Portland streetcar merely replaced an existing, heavily-traveled bus route, but ridership shot up beyond expectations.

    I don't know the costs of streetcars, but I wouldn't be surprised if they're cheaper than light rail. I know a UBC study showed that Vancouver's proposed $2.8 billion 12km Skytrain extension to UBC could instead restore 175km of streetcars routes (ie: the entire old streetcar network and more).

    They are also politically viable in the current economic climate because they'd be guaranteeing permanent jobs both on the streetcar line and in the manufacturing sector. They're also green (they'd be electric) which appeals to many. I think restoring a streetcar line in Kingston would also be a step towards thinking about other routes in Kingston and beginning to set a precedent in Canada on how restoring streetcars might find that elusive bridge between green, sustainable urbanism and employment.

  • Streetcars will never be viable in a city of Kingston's size. But KT needs to run the #1 bus more than once an hour on Sunday…

    • This is classic. No evidence, no argument, just immediate dismissal. Rob Ford would be proud.

      Streetcars ruled numerous cities much smaller than Kingston for decades prior to the car taking off. An smaller Kingston had a streetcar company operating from the 1890s to 1930.

      If Kingston can support a multi-route bus system, it can easily support streetcars.

  • While standing at a bus stop yesterday not too far from Wallmart a bus stopped to pick up another passenger & the driver saw that I had a lost look I guess so [he} asked me where I wanted to go so I told him the street that I lived on so he told me to get on & that he would show me the fast way to get home.And I was amazed at how simple he made the trip be for a 78 year old woman.He was courteous & helpful.I should of gotten his name but he drove the number seven bus & it was about one o'clock monday afternoon.I wish there were more not only drivers but more people like him I moved to Kingston five months ago

  • I would like see kington transit buy gm classic ; gmc fishbowl and orion

    • Thanks for your comment(s) Brian. As you can see we've published it, however we continue to receive the same and similar comments from you. Not sure why…perhaps you simply did not see your comment published? In any case, no need to keep submitting the same comment.

  • Just speaking from my own experience, I only take the number 6 during the summer when there are less students.. coming from downtown, the bus is instantly standing room only (dangerously so) after arriving at Queen's campus. With most of the students getting off in somewhere between Main and West Campus, why aren't they encouraged to take the Queen's route and stay away from the 6?

  • The bus’s odd routes annoy me. I made the mistake of thinking the drivers understood the concept of a direct route when I asked if the the #2 division from Kingston centre would be on a direct route from the centre to division but instead it went all the way up to the college and back before I even saw division.

  • I would like to see. Kingston transit buses. Gm new look. Mci. Classic, Orion. V. Orion.1. New flyers. Painted In Queen university. Colour.?

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