Feb 15, 2008

Councillors vote to keep transit cuts

It is official... Durham Region's transit commission will not be restoring any of the routes that were cut due the budget deficit.

Despite pleas from Ajax and Oshawa councillors, Regional council is sticking with recent midday service cuts on some bus routes.

On Wednesday, Durham Region's transit commission defeated a motion from Ajax Mayor Steve Parish asking for the return of midday service to the M26 Duffins Route in Ajax and the 5 Central Park in Oshawa.

The route reductions started in January and were prompted by Durham Region Transit's $2.3-million deficit. Since then, of the 87 complaints about the service cuts, 22 were about the Central Park route and 24 were about the Duffins.

The commission, made up of all of Regional Council, voted 14-7 against the motion.

The push to reinstate the midday routes came from Oshawa and Ajax. In late January, Ajax council passed a motion asking for midday service to be returned.

"If we want to get our fare box percentage up, we have to invest in a system people want to ride," Mayor Parish said.

Oshawa Mayor John Gray supported his counterpart's motion.

"We have to make sure we instill confidence with the transit users that the system we put in place will be there," Mayor Gray said.

Scugog Mayor Marilyn Pearce pointed out some areas in the northern part of the Region have no service at all.

"I sympathize with some of the routes that have seen midday cuts, but they're specific times when boardings were not meeting the standard," she said, adding it would be inconsistent to return the service.

And, while some, such as Ajax Councillor Scott Crawford, argued the number of complaints warranted another look at the issue, others disagreed.

"There isn't anyone in this room who can't call 24 people and get 24 names," said Regional Chairman Roger Anderson.

Clarington Councillor Mary Novak said the second round of adjustments hadn't occurred yet.

"In our case it doesn't take effect until March 1 and (we) won't have that push back until it happens," she said.

Related links: Councillors vote to keep transit cuts

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