As COVID-19 limits public transit in Kingston, the AMS has terminated the Bus-It Program for the 2020-21 school year.
In consultation with the City of Kingston, the AMS announced its decision on June 2. The Bus-It program traditionally provides unlimited access to Kingston transit throughout the school year.
“Kingston Transit is operating at a significantly reduced capacity. Hours and routes are reduced; rides are free and social distancing is being maintained during operations, which affects the number of people allowed to ride the bus,” the Society wrote.
The Society added these circumstances have “severely” impacted Kingston Transit’s ability to provide transit in the City, regardless of the number of students who have left Kingston for the summer period.
“Due to the many uncertainties associated with the operations of Kingston Transit, the City was unable to provide the assurance that operations in the fall would remain the same as seen in previous years,” the Society stated.
Special routes negotiated through the Bus-It Program designed with the intent of helping students navigate the City weren’t guaranteed for the fall because of Kingston Transit’s limited ability to provide service. These routes include Route 17, Route 18, and Route 20.
Kingston Transit will be using the limited resources available to improve operations across the rest of Kingston.
“This decision is made in consideration of ensuring there is value to students who are paying the mandatory fee,” the Society wrote, explaining that funding for the Bus-It program comes from a mandatory student fee of $93.82.
The AMS is cancelling the fee entirely because it doesn’t have the option of listing transit as an optional fee this year.
“As a result, the AMS, alongside the City of Kingston, has determined that the current agreements will not meet the needs of most post-secondary students due to the reduction in service levels being provided and the predominantly remote semester that will take place in the fall,” the Society wrote.
While the contract is usually renegotiated every three years, the Bus-It program will be reassessed for the 2021-22 academic year.
“Kingston Transit is committed to continuing to work with the AMS to find a solution to provide Queen’s students who will be in Kingston in September with access to public transit. We are currently in consultations to determine how to reintegrate this service in the future to serve our students best,” the Society wrote.
AMS, Covid-19, Kingston Transit
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