CORNWALL, Ontario – A new petition is demanding that the City of Cornwall re-introduce Sunday service for busing.
The writer of the petition states that by not having a Sunday bus service, the City of Cornwall is discriminating against those who do not have cars.
“The impact of not having any public transit on Sundays is two-fold; it limits the mobility of the individuals and impacts the local economy,” the petition reads. “Non-drivers of all physical ability, age, and socio-economic levels cannot carry out the same level of activities on a Sunday as drivers can and this through no fault of their own. This has a direct impact on the local economy as this segment of non-drivers cannot shop, dine out, go to the movies, attend events, and other entertainment on Sundays. Workers with no transportation must depend on family and friends to get a ride to work!”
Len Tapp, Division Manager for Cornwall Transit, explained some of the hurdles that implementing Sunday busing would face.
“Sunday ridership would be half of Saturdays,” he said. “I’m a transit guy and I would love to have Sunday service, but the cost would be huge.”
Tapp explained that ridership on Saturday, Aug. 31 was 1,500 riders. On top of the low ridership, Tapp said that the review of the provincial gas tax for transit services could mean an increase in the already steep cost for Sunday service. Sunday service would require paying for mechanics, drivers and additional wear and tear on the buses.
In 2017, Council received a report from Stantec that did not list Sunday service as a priority for Cornwall Transit.
READ MORE: Transit Master Plan: Sunday service not a priority
Tapp explained that implementing Sunday busing could result in an increase of taxes or of fares.
“We try to keep the budget in line as it is,” he said. “I’m not saying that Sunday service is not necessary. Don’t get me wrong, I would do this but it would have to be at a reasonable cost.”
Councillor Claude McIntosh said that he would be against the issue based on the cost.
“The cost would be prohibitive,” he said. “You see the buses running half full now and that’s during the day time. I would definitely be against it. When your manager lays out the cost . . . it would be cheaper to send them by cab and pick up the tab.