There & back again

With nothing more than the name of a location, the Journal told seven contributors to hit the road and use public transit to reach their destination. These are their stories.

Coach Canada terminal

General rules for using Kingston Transit:
1) Be on time. You’ll kick yourself if you decide to take your time getting to the bus stop on the day the buses are actually on time.
2) Bring an entertaining friend or at least an iPod.
3) Be flexible in terms of route.
4) Get a paper route map. Don’t rely on the website.

When heading to the Coach Canada terminal you have options; eventually, you want route 2 or C. I had my heart set on grabbing the route 2 and coasting to Coach Canada, no transfers necessary, but after half an hour of waiting in the rain, my friend Liz and I abandoned it for an “extra bus” heading towards the Kingston Centre—most buses end up there eventually —and picked up the C bus.

The journey was smooth sailing thereon out. Well, the route was; the roads were pretty bumpy. We arrived at Coach Canada within 12 minutes.

After a mere 10 minute wait for the number 2? that is, 10 minutes past its scheduled arrival—the bus finally showed. Thank goodness. The terminal was creeping me out.

Once it came we were a nine minute ride to Princess Street. Home, sweet home.

—Katy Littlejohn

Via Rail Station

If you’re in a rush to catch a train, it may not be the best idea to navigate Kingston’s bus system; hypothetically, however, Kingston Transit does have a route to the VIA Rail station. My housemate and I started the adventure by unsuccessfully chasing after the 4 p.m. route 1 bus at Division and Princess to head to the Kingston Centre. We waited for nearly 20 minutes before route 4 arrived, which goes along the same route. We arrived at the Kingston Centre at 4:35 p.m., just in time to almost miss the switch to route C. For the record, there are two route Cs and only one goes to the train station. After we got off the wrong route C, the ride to the train station took about 15 minutes. We passed the time by playing I Spy, with such categories as “the contagious cougher” and “the disillusioned tourist.” Rather than wait for a return bus once we got to the station, we stayed on the route until it eventually returned to Kingston Centre roughly 45 minutes later. From there, we should have taken either route 1 or 4 to get back to our starting point but, being Division Street residents, we hopped onto route 2 (called Division Street-St. Lawrence College) hoping for a faster trip. Although the driver told us he would stop by our intersection along Division, he failed to mention we would first have to follow him to St. Lawrence College and around downtown. It was 6:35 p.m. when we reached home.

—Gloria Er-Chua

Cataraqui Town Centre

Before ever setting foot on a Kingston bus I urge you to be sure it isn’t Sunday—buses only run once an hour—and don’t hop on the first random bus. My two hour adventure to the Cataraqui Town Centre and back involved transferring at the Gardiners Town Centre from route 18 to 71 unnecessarily—laziness kept me from taking a faster bus from a farther stop—and pondering the mysterious bus routes of the public transit system. The first bus left me wondering why we passed the same stop three times and the second one travelled down every side street in half a dozen residential areas. Fortunately, I returned on route 6 and got off at Princess Street and University Avenue. Although it was confusing, this trip out of the Queen’s bubble left me with many new FYNIR friends and allowed me to watch feminism in action as a woman loudly argued that females should have priority over men in a situation of limited seating. Despite the long and seemingly endless routes, the bus introduced me to areas of Kingston I may have never visited otherwise. Finally, I would like to thank John, the bus driver who thankfully yelled to me when he reached my stop.

—Alena Mandel

Cineplex Odeon

Last Friday, I gave up my exciting evening plans in order to make the journey from Queen’s Main Campus to the Cineplex Odeon at the RioCan Centre by way of Kingston Transit. Okay, so my plans weren’t really that exciting, but anything has to be better than spending the night with a grumpy bus driver and a throng of equally grumpy commuters. Two friends were consulted before the excursion, both of them much more bus-savvy than myself. I began my adventure by boarding route 6 on Stuart Street at 4 p.m. 40 minutes later, I arrived at the Gardiners Town Centre on Gardiners Road, at which point I intended to transfer to the 71. Upon asking the bus driver what time the 71 would be arriving, I was gruffly informed that it would not be coming “for a few hours,” as it is an evening-only bus (which I later discovered is not true). I eventually made it to the RioCan Centre on the number 6, but I was still a 10-minute walk away from the theatre itself. Two missed busses and 70 minutes later, I finally arrived back at main campus, two and a half hours after first departing. Unless the Kingston Transit system miraculously improves overnight, I do not think it is a trip I will be making again in the near future.

—Holly Tousignant

Cataraqui Arena

So there I was at 1:55 p.m., standing at University Avenue and Princess Street. It was pissing rain, and I was waiting for the route 4 bus to take me to the Cataraqui Arena. I had Google-mapped that god-forsaken location before embarking on the journey and determined that I could take the route 4 up Princess to Sydenham Road and after that there’d be a bit of a trek. Just how much of a trek, I unfortunately didn’t bother to find out beforehand. This was a big mistake. It turns out the arena is a 2.8km pilgrimage—and north of the 401, no less—from the closest bus stop. But naturally, with my perilous deficiency of finesse in the public transit department, I overshot the correct stop by at least 500m, winding up with an on-foot round-trip of just over six kilometres. But the walk up Sydenham wasn’t completely awful; there are more cemeteries than you can count—and by that I mean that there are four—one of which is the resting place of Sir John A. Macdonald. Naturally, I stopped in to see our first Prime Minister before completing the tour. And what a tour it was. Door-to-door it took me two hours and 35 minutes. Of those minutes, 39 were spent on the bus. To say the least, my legs are not amused.

—Heather Christie

Value village

At 11:40 a.m. on Sunday, I was on the E71 heading up Princess Street and on assignment: Take the bus to Value Village. In the end, this trip did go almost too smoothly to write about, mostly thanks to a friend of mine who knows the schedule.

So, for all you Journal readers who have been itching for a Polaroid camera or a nice wooden tennis racquet, here’s how to get to Value Village from Princess Street (on a Sunday): Get on the E71. Then get off when you’re there. It reaches downtown every hour on the half hour, so you can get on it anywhere on Princess Street. You’ll be there in around 20 minutes. Getting back is just as simple. Head to the stop you got off at, and the bus comes about 10 minutes after the hour. Safe travels, and hopefully you aren’t too weighed down by that 8-track player and enormous bird painting to make it home.

—Nick Fellion


Getting to Loblaws was a hassle-free and straight-forward commute thanks the Kingston Transit system. Leaving my house on William Street at 5 p.m., I arrived at the bus stop at Princess and University about five minutes before the 5:15 p.m. bus (one) that would take me to the Kingston Centre. The trip took hardly any time at all, and by 5:23 p.m. I was at the bus stop just outside Loblaws. I browsed around a couple of shops before picking up some essentials at the grocery store and left Loblaws at 6:10 p.m. This time I had to wait for the bus for slightly longer than on the way there, catching the route 1 bus again at 6:17 p.m. The trip back was surprisingly quicker than I was anticipating. I got off the bus at Princess and University at 6:25 p.m. and was home by 6:32 p.m.

Finding out what bus was needed to get from my house to Loblaws was incredibly easy as everything including schedules and maps is readily available online. I took the same bus both there and back and had very short distances to walk on either end. The bus driver was very friendly, and it was obvious that this was a busy bus route considering the entire bus was full.

—Emily Gilbert

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