Tag Archives: GRT

Cambridge is Playing Catchup on Transit.

Last Tuesday during the debate on accepting the LRT consortium, Councillor (and retired mayor) Jane Brewer said the following in response to remarks that transit in Cambridge is not as good as in the rest of the Region.

She stated that in the 1990s,when Greg Durocher (present head of Cambridge Chamber of Commerce), Doug Craig (present Mayor) and herself were on a Cambridge city council that ran transit, the council always dipped into the funding for Cambridge transit to fund other city needs. I thank her for saying that. It was very brave to admit the truth.

I knew this because I know people who live in Cambridge. My best friend has said many times how much better transit is now in Cambridge since the Region has taken it over. The bus that went by near her house used to only go one way. To get downtown, she would have to go all the way around the the route,even though she could walk to downtown Galt in a half-hour.

Recently her son attended the University of Waterloo. In his first year, he was able to live at home. He took the bus that now went both ways to the Ainslie terminal and took the Ixpress to the University. He loves his Upass and will be sad to give it up when he graduates.

Here are the statistics from when the Region took over transit in Cambridge:

1.      Annual ridership in Cambridge has increased from 1.11 million in 1999 (GRT was established in January 2000) to 3.66 million in 2013, a 229% increase. During the same time period, total GRT ridership increased from 9.47 million to 22 million, a 132% increase.
Correspondingly, the amount of service provided in Cambridge increased from 59,300  to 143,900 annual service hours, a 141% increase. In comparison, annual service hours on GRT increased from 336,100 to 631,800, an 88% increase.
2.      Also, please find attached a table that details the 2014 service reductions in Cambridge and the new Maple Grove iXpress. In total, we are adding more service (4,458 annual service hours) and project an increase of 17,659 rides annually in Cambridge.
There is also a million dollars a year going to Cambridge to improve transit. The aBRT will be starting in late 2014 or 2015. It is an Ixpress with priority signals and priority lanes during busy times. It is laying the groundwork for the LRT extension to Cambridge.
The cost to build the LRT from Fairway Kitchener to Ainslie Terminal in Cambridge is the same as building phase one from King St. Conestoga Mall to Fairway Mall. As noted above, Kitchener and Waterloo have more ridership than Cambridge due to the catchup Cambridge  transit has had to make since the Region took it over.
Staff are presently meeting with residents from two seniors’ homes who are having problems with the Cambridge route cuts. The Region always does this. Hopefully we can do some rejigging for the seniors.
The route changes in Cambridge (There are also cuts in Kitchener) are listed below:


Day Type

Effective Date

Service Change Description

Annual Service Hours Change

Forecasted Annual Ridership Change

57 Blair Road


Apr 28 2014

From 30 minute to no midday service



58 Elmwood


May 3 2014

From 30 to 60 minute service



61 Conestoga College


Apr 28 2014

From 30 to 60 minute service during midday in spring only




Jun 23 2014

From 30 to 60 minute service during midday in summer only



62 Woodside


May 3 2014

From 30 to 60 minute service



66 Winston


Apr 28 2014

Route discontinued and replaced with modified Route 71 Melran



203 Maple Grove iXpress



Apr 28 2014

Introduce new route from the Cambridge Centre to Sportsworld via Franklin Boulevard and Maple Grove Road, operating every 30 minutes from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily




Sep 2 2014

Extend service during peak periods to Conestoga College Doon and Cambridge Campuses




Ads on Buses

Here is staff’s reply to the problem of windows covered by ads on buses.

The Region receives approximately $400,000 a year for bus advertising revenue.  This includes interior, exterior and all bus vinyl applications.
“The contract stipulates a  maximum of 5 full vinyl application wraps permitted on the entire GRT fleet at any time. 
I have contacted the contractor to discuss and review other vinyl product options for the windows. “
Regional council is looking at a possible 4 to 5 percent increase this year and that doesn’t include making up the cuts to Discretionary Benefits to the Poor. $400,000 is a lot of eyeglasses, tooth pulling or food hampers. 

Region Celebrates Outstanding Employees

It seems that whenever we pick up the paper or look on-line, a bus driver is shown texting or committing some other sin. These problems come to us from Toronto. Today I would like to tell you a different story.

Last week I attended the first awards for outstanding Regional employees. One of our bus drivers won for outstanding service. People phone in to the GRT hotline, not to complain but to complement her work. One customer phoned in because during one bus ride, this rider saw the bus driver give directions to two lost university students, fix a skate blade cut on a passenger who had just finished at the Waterloo Square skating rink and urge passengers to leave by the front of the bus when the back door was blocked by snow.

Another employee, one of our chemists, helped translate for a Russian woman unable to make herself understood to social services staff. Not only did he translate for her that day, but he and his wife stayed in contact with the woman and helped her adjust to Canada.

Finally, there were the two paramedics who got a standing ovation from their fellow employees. They entered a dwelling and found a dead woman. One of the paramedics noticed a car seat and a stroller. They searched the apartment and came across a cold, naked three-year old hiding in the back bedroom. He had been on his own for days with his dead mother and the heat and electricity turned off.

They clothed him and fed him and comforted him with one of the EMS stuffed bears. They waited with the boy while his grandmother was contacted. The boy said to them, “Can I live with you? My Mommy’s dead.”  Despite this intense situation, the two paramedics finished up with the boy then returned to finish their shift.

Congratulations to all the Regional staff nominated and winners!