As ridership rebounds, Kingston Transit invests in new terminals
Some west-end transit riders can now see the first of what are to be a dozen new transit terminals.
The city unveiled the first two terminals on Henderson Boulevard on Monday morning
Construction of the new terminals along express transit routes is to cost about $3.5 million, funded with contributions from the federal, provincial and municipal governments.
Kingston and the Islands MP Mark Gerretsen said the new terminals show how far the city's transit service has come since he was a youth.
“I can remember standing at sometimes not even a concrete pad but just a worn out piece of grass that had a pole and a City of Kingston Transit sign on it,” Gerretsen said.
“That's all that we had back then in terms of knowing where to get on and off the bus, and (it's nice) to see that our community has been able to embrace public transit and bring it to the point that we're now seeing shelters like these.”
“This makes you want to ride transit,” Lakeside District Coun.
Wendy Stephen, the current deputy mayor, said. “It's a welcoming place to stand and wait for the bus, and I so appreciate on a day like today the protection from the wind and the elements.
“We need to give people choices and we need people to want to choose transit over driving.”
In 2019, Kingston Transit had 6.9 million rides and its growth was among the highest in Ontario.
In 2020, the COVID -19 pandemic caused ridership to drop off dramatically.
Ian Semple, director of transportation and transit, said the city expects bus ridership this year to be about 86 per cent of what it was prior to the pandemic.
“Certainly, our ridership, especially this fall, is very much approaching those sort of normal rider level that we saw before the pandemic, especially amongst our student population and our post-secondary population,” Semple said. “Even with our commuters we're seeing a lot more movement within the system.
“Especially on our express service, you know, those riders are coming back, they're travelling more around the city and certainly using the system that we have.”
The new terminals are meant to further encourage people to opt for transit, commissioner of transportation and emergency services Brad Joyce said.
“When you look at them, you can see that they're more accessible,” Joyce said. “They provide more seating, they are sheltered space and they actually incorporate built-in lighting. The bicycle parking also provides additional flexibility for our riders to use Kingston transit to take trips through our system.”