New bus route to VIA Rail station

AMS executive’s campaign promise of new route to be finalized next week

The bus route will take students directly from campus to the VIA Rail station. The current route stops at the Kingston Centre.
The bus route will take students directly from campus to the VIA Rail station. The current route stops at the Kingston Centre.

A new bus route from campus to the VIA Rail station will start before students arrive in September, AMS Vice-President (Operations) Leslie Yun said.

When she ran for AMS office with President Michael Ceci and Vice-President (University Affairs) Adam Zabrodski, they promised to fulfill six promises before the end of their term.

One of their promises was to establish a bus route from campus to the VIA Rail station on John Counter Blvd., which is about six kilometres from campus.

“It was one of those things I’d heard about informally from a lot of students who said they wish there was a direct route from campus to the VIA Rail,” she said. “During our campaign last year that was one of the initiatives with a lot of positive feedback.”

Yun said a lot of students take the train but it’s difficult to get there.

“The only way to get there from campus, besides a taxi which costs $12 or $13, is a 30 or 40 minute bus ride with a transfer at the Kingston Centre,” she said.

The route and the frequency of the bus will be finalized in the next few weeks, Yun said, adding that the route will likely go down Union St., so it will benefit the broader Kingston community as well as the Queen’s community.

Yun said the bus route worked out because the executive began to work on the bus route early in their term and Kingston Transit was already planning to do an overhaul of their routes.

“We told them early on in the summer that this was something we really wanted to work with them on,” she said. “Kingston Transit had been doing a general overhaul of their transit system so it was really good timing.”

This year there were two shuttle buses from campus to VIA Rail to gauge interest in a permanent route.

“We got the two shuttle services running for Thanksgiving and Reading Week and that showed them the demand was there for students,” she said, adding that the reading week shuttle had just under 100 riders on the Friday trip and 313 riders on the return trip Sunday.

The route will be paid for by the Bus-It program so there will be no additional costs to students, Yun said.

City Councillor and Kingston Transit project manager Jeremy De Costa said Kingston Transit has been reviewing their routes.

“The primary function of that was to examine and align it to where people actually travel, analysis of where people begin their trips and try and match the transit,” he said. “As a result of that we’ve identified some short-term improvements.”

Da Costa said there will be buses from Queen’s campus directly to both the train station and the Coach Canada bus station on John Counter Blvd.

“That was a need we identified working with the Queen’s AMS,” he said. “It’s not as though there’s no service to the train station but what’s great about this is that there’s directness without a transfer and with no layover and they’ll take you directly to Via Rail.”

De Costa said if no new revenue is acquired through the new route it will cost just over $1 million.

“That assumes that there are no new revenues that are achieved, we’re putting these routes in areas where we know there’s a demand,” he said. “ The route through Queen’s is based on research with Waterloo and conversations with Queen’s AMS and that gap was identified quickly and we’ve responded to that specific need.”

—With files from Kelly Loeper

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