When it comes to Durham Region Transit the first week of September is a time of year when the routes return to normal. After two months (July and August) of low summer passenger counts those figures now go up. With schools closed and the summer months being prime time for vacations, ridership takes a dive. This is common for any transit system in Ontario and perhaps Canada.
One of the most successful routes at DRT is the 915 Taunton. The sole reason for this, is the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and Durham College. During the school term ridership soars on this route.
The 915 route runs with 15 minutes between buses in the rush hour. Between the AM and PM rush hours, the headway switches to 30 minutes between buses. The problem begins with this route in what DRT has defined as rush hour. The 8:30 AM bus is the last bus, with a 15 minute headway to depart Pickering Go Station for for Durham College. The next bus is at 9 am. I am not going to include the one that departs at 8:45 am because it only travels east to the Ajax Go Station.
This is a period of the day, when there should be a reduction of demands on the service. In this case, the reverse is true. These buses are still carrying loads that are above capacity. Usually, somewhere past the Ajax Go Station the buses are full and start to bypass stops. This now results in in passengers having to wait one hour between buses. This is only true, providing the next bus is not full. This seems to be the trend until after the 10:30 AM cycle.
Starting about 1:05 PM the same thing is happening on the return trips. The buses departing the College are fully. Passengers are being left behind and the drivers are unable to accommodate intending customers en-route.
The students are the highest group of passengers that DRT has. They should should treated as if DRT would like them to return the next day and the next. To start running buses into the garage at 8:45 AM is a good sign that DRT does have the equipment to extend the rush hour operating times on this route. Let us also not forget the person who is relying on the bus to get to work or going to a doctor’s appointment. Is it time for DRT to review the passenger patterns on the 915 Taunton?