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Local transit riders push for return to pre-pandemic scheduling

Remaining on the scaled-back pandemic bus schedule 'affects people in college, hardworking people with jobs, and makes it harder to get to places in a timely manner'
20200609 transit bus north bay turl(1)
A petition is circulating online asking the City of North Bay to return to transit to its pre-pandemic capacity.

Local people who rely on North Bay Transit services for transportation have had enough of the decreased frequency of the buses and would like to see a return to pre-pandemic service levels.

Within a couple of days of its posting, an online petition had already garnered over 100 digital signatures.

"It's been a long couple of years dealing with COVID-19 and a lot of things have been affected including the city bus in North Bay," posts petition author Maghen Lefebvre Speedie.

Remaining on the scaled-back pandemic bus schedule "affects people in college, hardworking people with jobs, and makes it harder to get to places in a timely manner," according to Lefebvre Speedie. 

As of June 11, the City of North Bay lifted the mask mandate for public transit in accordance with provincial directives but the frequency of transit buses has not reverted to pre-pandemic levels. North Bay Transit has been operating on various modified schedules since 2020.

See related: Bus transit route changes coming

A supporter of the petition laments, "There is only one bus that goes down Junction area and it is only once an hour. Makes scheduling difficult and you need to try to connect with another bus on time which often doesn't work out."

These concerned transit customers might have to remain patient for a while longer.

"North Bay Transit will be continuing to adjust service levels based on ridership and is planning to increase the frequency of service at end of summer as students return to school in the fall," according to City of North Bay Communications Officer Gord Young.

"I have asked many people what they think about the new bus schedule and dynamic dispatch and [they say] it hinders many people," states the petition's author, anecdotally. "They have all told me there are not enough buses and they can't get anywhere on time anymore, it's either [arrive] late or [depart] an hour early just to be on time.

"Before COVID-19, each bus ran every 30 minutes and now they run only once an hour. There are a lot of problems with that, one example is for the people that live far up Lakeshore, they can only catch a bus once an hour so they will either be late for where they have to go or way too early. It's cost people their jobs by missing a bus and then being an hour late."

"Although transit ridership has been gradually improving, it remains below pre-pandemic levels; and the planned increase to service will be commensurable to demand," adds Young on behalf of the City.

Stu Campaigne

About the Author: Stu Campaigne

Stu Campaigne is a full-time news reporter for, focusing on local politics and sharing our community's compelling human interest stories.
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