The Kitchener Post featured a story about transportation to the Auditorium and parking on its front page today. It explores why the free bus ride program is more complicated than anticipated. I am among those interviewed for the story.
The Post also includes an editorial on the subject called: Not quite there
We need to set transit up for success
While the free ride program initiated by the Rangers and the City of Kitchener is a positive development, it unfortunately is not going to move any significant number of people. If the program is to be successful in making a noticeable difference in parking on residential streets and start changing people’s behaviors and choices, more needs to be done.
Grand River Transit could:
- Add an extra bus or two that runs on route 8 between the downtown terminal and the Aud. I’d short end it and send it back to the terminal to make another fun. I’d see this happening for an hour and a half or two hours before the game and have multiple buses waiting for the return to the terminal after the game.
- Have a bus shuttling people from the iXpress at Charles & Ottawa to East Ave & Borden for an hour or two before the game with sufficient buses to return people to iXpress (which may need one or more buses waiting).
- Distribute the special Rangers tickets from where its own staff sells GRT tickets and passes.
What the city & Rangers should do:
- Promote, promote, promote the free ride so that people think of it as a preferred way to get to the game.
- Make it much easier for people to get a free ride TO the auditorium by transit and not just a free return ride.
We must consider the many people who only go to one game or a handful of games. They are the ones I suspect are most likely to drive their own cars unless they know about an easy alternative.
I’ve never suggested diverting resources to supporting getting people to Ranger games. In fact, I’ve suggested sponsorship similar to the free rides home during Oktoberfest. I could make the case though that the Rangers/Aud situation presents a high profile opportunity for Grand River Transit to make the case for people to make different, better choices. If Grand River Transit, the Rangers and the City of Kitchener want this program to successfully move large numbers of people to and from games, I’m confident they can make it happen if they make it a priority.