Over the month that we have been in session, I have noticed a disturbing trend on the Mississauga Transit buses serving this campus. Every day that I have boarded any route either leaving or coming to UTM, I have witnessed overcrowding to the point that students are being turned away, unable to board.
When the UPass was put into place, Mississauga Transit took on a responsibility to ensure adequate service was put into place to satisfy demand. In exchange for almost $1,000,000 in guaranteed yearly funding, we the students would receive the necessary reliable service needed to attend our classes. Instead, we are seeing students left waiting on the curb because Mississauga Transit hasn’t held up their end of the deal, and I just can’t help but feel that they’d be doing more to get those students on the bus if they didn’t already have our money.
The UPass is a fantastic deal for students, but only if the service is brought up to match. Any student who is not boarding a UTM-bound route at its beginning has no way of knowing if they will actually be able to get on the bus that will take them to class, or if they will be turned away. The only change Mississauga transit made this year is changing the frequency of the 110 from 20 minutes to 17 minutes during rush periods. Unfortunately, if all students are boarding to arrive on the hour because that is when we have classes, an extra bus every two hours isn’t going to help anyone. The problem is capacity, not frequency.
There is a solution: Mississauga Transit needs to employ double-length buses to UTM routes during high-capacity periods. It would not be hard to determine what times those are: the drivers would certainly be able to inform their employers when they are being forced to constantly turn people away, despite their best efforts. Unfortunately, it seems that Transit is not willing to take this step on their own. As our money is already in their pocket, why change?
And so, the task falls onto our student union to speak with them, and remind them that we had a deal. The contract for the UPass won’t last forever, and our money is not guaranteed. Before we resign for another three or more years, we need to tell our union that they need to play some hardball.Paying for unlimited transit doesn’t do us much good if we can’t even get on the bus.
Jonathan M. Scott
(Third year philosophy student)