Whitehorse Daily Star

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Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu

Direct busing changes to off-ramp: councillor

The blowback from the public on the new routes and schedules for Whitehorse Transit reached city council chambers on Monday evening.

By Tim Giilck on June 24, 2022

The blowback from the public on the new routes and schedules for Whitehorse Transit reached city council chambers on Monday evening.

After a fulsome discussion during the weekly session, Coun. Jocelyn Curteanu introduced a notice of motion calling for the implementation of the changes to be delayed. As things stand now, the changes are set to go into effect on July 1.

Before she introduced the motion, council spent several minutes addressing the issues that have resulted in hundreds of complaints, over social media at least, savaging the plan that has been several years in the making.

A petition against the new routes has also been circulating online.

City transit manager Jason Bradshaw was in attendance at the meeting as well, doing his best to defend the changes.

Curteanu had clearly done some research into the issue.

Many of her colleagues were focusing on defending the staff from the criticisms and congratulating them on how hard they had worked to draw up a new system.

Curteanu, however, said she has been in contact with officials in Edmonton who introduced comparable changes to its transit system last year on the advice of the Stantec consulting company – which also designed the new Whitehorse schedule.

Curteanu said the Edmonton system has been reduced by approximately a hundred routes.

That hasn’t gone over well with the public, she noted. The Edmonton transit system has been forced to make more than 40 adjustments and changes to the system already, Curteanu informed council.

That gave some of her colleagues pause, particularly deputy mayor Ted Laking.

He had been prominent in defending the work city staff had done.

He also suggested that some of the criticism flooding in has gone beyond the bounds of acceptable behaviour.

Once he heard what Curteanu had to say about the Edmonton situation, the tone of his comments shifted to a more thoughtful mood.

“Thank you for this,” he told Curteanu, adding the information is very helpful.

Several other council members peppered Bradshaw and acting city manager Jeff O’Farrell about the situation and public criticism.

Bradshaw emphasized the city had made efforts to solicit public opinion as to whether the transit system needed changes in various ways, including a survey that had more than 200 responses.

However, no public input was asked for after Stantec had developed the new routes.

That would be most unusual, O’Farrell told the council.

That seems to be what the public is reacting to, he added. There was some support for the concept of revamping the system, which has outgrown its usefulness, O’Farrell said. It’s the specifics that the public is unhappy with, he added.

The new system, he and Bradshaw said, provides a compromise between buses running more often and the time it takes to get around on them.

Generally speaking, the new routes and schedules will increase travel time, they said, and emphasize getting around to most areas of the city, rather than being focused on getting people downtown.

That’s been upsetting, O’Farrell and Bradshaw said. Neither appeared to be willing to bend their positions in the wake of the tumult the announcements have triggered.

Bradshaw told the council members that any substantial changes to the system could result in implementation delays of up to a year.

Curteanu’s motion is to be voted on at Monday’s meeting.

Comments (25)

Up 3 Down 2

Liberals in La La Land on Jun 29, 2022 at 9:13 pm

To MITCH on Jun 29, 2022 at 9:12 am:

No worries there Mitch - I got your back there Star Poster Buddy!
Viva La Mitchee… Viva…

Regards,

Liberals in La La Land

Up 1 Down 3

MITCH on Jun 29, 2022 at 4:16 pm

CORRECTION - I was referring to Liberals in reality, not Liberals in la la land. As for la-la land, I am open to suggestions on punctuation, your political demographic owns the market on acronyms and misappropriated punctuation.

Up 2 Down 0

Patti Eyre on Jun 29, 2022 at 2:34 pm

@mitche: thanks for the support, I try and fight the good and righteous fight every day, oh lord how I do try!

Up 0 Down 2

MITCH on Jun 29, 2022 at 12:39 pm

At Liberal Reality? (hahahahaha, more like delusion and the finances prove it)
"You can write the counselors explaining your concerns. If enough people do that they can't ignore it."

Care to make a wager on that? You can barely leave a negative review on a Canadian retail website and have it stay there or obtain resolution, let alone from the so called "Service Canada", whether municipal, territorial, provincial or federal. But hey, don't believe me? Just watch the news this weekend. These fools back-peddled because social media is a weapon of war to anyone who applies it so. They did not consult nearly enough and are paying for it now, aren't they?

Up 1 Down 4

MITCH on Jun 29, 2022 at 9:12 am

@ LIBERALS IN LALA LAND - I appreciate that, I really do. People like you remind me we are fighting for something, it surely is not nothing, so you keep it up too. To the people who don't agree, if you would prefer dealing with nationwide never ending protests, be my guest. We would be all too happy to oblige you, simply ask. And no, we can destroy you with litigation, lobby, voting and financial decisions alone. We don't need to resort to the lows of Liberals to lay Liberals low.

Up 2 Down 3

Liberals in reality on Jun 28, 2022 at 9:57 pm

@Liberals in La La Land

Come on man... the comment section on this website is absolutely a conservative echo chamber and you know it.
This story has nothing to do with Trudeau yet you somehow feel the need to paint it as a left vs right issue. Like the dude is living rent free in your head.

This story is about complaints and one counselor doing some homework and now we have a vote on delaying some changes that the public has come out against. That's how governments should work. Now if for some reason Curteanu's motion does not pass and we implement a transit system that doesn't meet the needs of the constituency then we have some avenues to hold those responsible accountable. You can write the counselors explaining your concerns. If enough people do that they can't ignore it. Most importantly you're going to get a chance to vote them out in 2024.

Up 9 Down 4

Dissociative Politics on Jun 28, 2022 at 8:59 am

The councilor’s unfocused stare in to the distance beyond his/her/their audience suggests that she/he/they are experiencing a visit by the great ear worm, a dissociative episode of the, “the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, the wheels on the bus…”

Living in the Yukon is like being stuck in a cheesy sci-fi movie wherein it’s citizens are trapped inside a time loop where dissociative realizing has become the normative political basis for decision-making… “The wheels on the bus…”

Up 4 Down 5

Liberals in La La Land on Jun 27, 2022 at 10:24 pm

Hey MITCH on Jun 27, 2022 at 12:47 pm:

Is there supposed to be a period or a comma after, “I am beginning to think…”? It seems like there should be some punctuation there, maybe even an exclamation mark or two… Jazz it up my friend!

Up 2 Down 7

Liberals in La La Land on Jun 27, 2022 at 10:07 pm

Dear MITCH on Jun 27, 2022 at 12:47 pm: Love your energy bro… Hardcore 24/7 enthusiasm for debate… And I don’t mean that in the ironic or mentally ill sense either; high-octane fuel for the fight! Go Mitch Go, Go Mitch Go…

It’s not just you Mitch… The Star is part of the Great Reset narrative and it often appears to censor content that does not support the Liberal narrative… Hold no delusions as to your relative status in the commons, there is but one; one for you, one for me, and one from them wherein the person becomes an exercise of the pleasures of a higher authority applying a fluid moral framework in pursuit of a power mediated truth for political purposes.

I am thrilled to see you exercise your privilege of voice in the Star-Echo-Chamber though:

“Who controls the past,' ran the Party slogan, 'controls the future: who controls the present controls the past. '” Trudeau introduces the theory behind the work he does at the Ministry of Truth… Its about the narrative!

You’re no Politico I’ll give you that, you often seem to be grounded in a coherent reality even if it’s not this one… Those Liberals though… Absolute Jabberwocky…

Up 2 Down 2

Bart on Jun 27, 2022 at 8:26 pm

Bring back that last genius that they had who almost had these six routes mastered. That person probably got a promotion to the Traffic department or something.

Up 5 Down 9

MITCH on Jun 27, 2022 at 12:47 pm

I am beginning to think the solution to social division is to just remove all comment sections and go back to letters to the editor. You have the authouritive license to change my words with synonyms, as opposed to removing so many that my original post no longer makes sense, regardless of whether it would have made sense or not. I had some choice words for this government, some of them were comparisons to STD's.

Up 14 Down 2

MITCH on Jun 27, 2022 at 8:08 am

Seriously, purchase some supplementary shuttle buses for smaller routes and leave it be! For Christ's sake, this government is incapable of improving, let alone a bus route, at any level clearly.

Up 1 Down 15

Wilf Carter on Jun 26, 2022 at 2:19 pm

Anie I have been involved with buildings like on top of the hill. We should use electric driven buses with a building made of high level plastic that's good for 25 years at 60% less cost and you do not have to heat the building. Or buildings like a shed type. There were at least 5 other choices.

Up 27 Down 3

Reality Check on Jun 26, 2022 at 10:13 am

The four golden rules to attract ridership and make public transit an alternative:
1. Reliability
2. Affordability
3. Consistency (a schedule easy to remember)
4. Good Coverage of a city's area

So, still no buses to McRae. No commuter service into the country residential areas. Cutting back service for Lobird and KK. Weird service to Whistle Bend.

Welcome back to the future, no - actually back in 1985...

Up 16 Down 7

Anie on Jun 26, 2022 at 9:21 am

Wilf - that building isn't a bus centre and you know it. Did you ever set foot in the old garage on fourth avenue? Do you recognize that it was too small for todays roadwork equipment, or even the equipment to keep those graders working!? Do you know what it cost just to heat that old building? Did you ever speak to the mechanics who worked there? Or did you reach your conclusions based on some minor experience walking though a maintenance garage in sone small community 39 years ago?. Yes, I too have spoken to people in many cities about transit - we usually travelled by public transit on vacations all over the world, and enjoyed conversations with fellow passengers . And I too have been asked about transit - usually "what time is the next bus?" Do you get it? We all have experiences, but very little of it is of any interest to other people or pertinent to the topic at hand

Up 17 Down 3

Sheryl on Jun 25, 2022 at 9:44 pm

Why wasn't the transit hub put downtown? That's where most of the businesses are and it is convenient for people to buy this or that before getting on their bus to travel back to their neighborhood. Our downtown should be the transfer point.

Up 23 Down 4

Nathan Living on Jun 25, 2022 at 5:16 pm

This situation shows how city administration and council are shockingly out of touch with taxpayers and in this case, the very people who are dependent on the Whitehorse transit system.

Why are we heaping praise on a councillor who did a little research? They all should have read the documents critically and done their own research.

Why is the first initiative to praise and defend city administration? Fact check- City administration often does not work to improve the lives of Whitehorse taxpayers and the rreasoning for their recommendations is frequently exceptionally weak.
I expect much more from city administration and council and am disappointed again which seems to be a common feeling that most people have.

How many councillors are double dipping with other jobs or contracts and just going through the motions as they take our money and the tax break their council position brings?
Please do your jobs and make Whitehorse as good as it was not long ago or move along.

Up 31 Down 3

CJ2 on Jun 25, 2022 at 12:20 pm

"Generally speaking, the new routes and schedules will increase travel time". That perfectly sums up the department's attitude towards riders, which is that their time is of negligible importance in the broad scheme of whatever it is that is important to them. To ride the bus is to experience the subliminal contempt the system feels towards the ridership. Ridership won't increase in any meaningful way until this attitude is examined.

Yet the other paper says that the focus on the new plan was on the city's busiest areas, not the more geographical focus of the current plan. That explains the ease with which they yanked neighbourhoods off the schedule. But it doesn't explain how they rationalize rides taking longer while supposedly increasing service to busy areas (and denying service to other areas). Longer rides is by definition not an improved service.

Respect to Jocelyn Curteanu for doing some homework. Shame on Ted Laking for his toadying to administration for a plan he doesn't seem to understand. Council shouldn't be making a decision on this until they experience trying to manage their lives using public transit, and not just for a day, for a significant period of time. And they should disguise themselves, like food critics do.

At the very least, they might be less pious about encouraging residents to park their cars and ride the bus, even as they themselves happily enjoy the freedom of the roads that our vehicles grant us.

Up 22 Down 9

Wilf Carter on Jun 25, 2022 at 11:52 am

Transit services according to people I talked to in Edmonton, Vancouver, Kelowna and Red Deer, Halifax is very hard to develop and manage to make every one happy. But some transit experts say municipalities are not looking at the needs of their communities from a holistic point of view starting with ridership on each route to size of the buses that should be on each route. We should be buying small more cost effective buses that fit our needs in Whitehorse. I have been asked about transit over the years but it is a real challenge for management. Building that great $88 million bus center up on the clay cliffs was big mistake.

Up 30 Down 1

BnR on Jun 25, 2022 at 7:29 am

They all campaigned on the housing crisis as issue #1….
But yeah, bus schedules.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

Up 23 Down 3

Daphne on Jun 24, 2022 at 9:35 pm

First and foremost we are not Edmonton we are Yukoners and Whitehorse isn’t that big like Edmonton we are a small place and here in the Yukon everyone likes to go downtown no matter what bus we are on.
Young teenagers will need to get home also from the downtown area. I think it is going to be hard on everyone of us here in the Yukon especially the people that really depend on the buses to get to work and to get home after work.

Up 18 Down 3

Nathan Living on Jun 24, 2022 at 8:58 pm

It seems like the City should have provided another step and more consultation.

Up 45 Down 4

Darcy G on Jun 24, 2022 at 6:25 pm

Interesting that Stantec where the Mayors sister (Leslie Cabott) works was the hired contractor for the job and now people are not happy.

Up 29 Down 2

Snowball on Jun 24, 2022 at 5:14 pm

The Yukon can't do the Yukon way they have too look at what happens in Alberta or Ontario. They can't come up with a Yukon idea. lol

Up 65 Down 5

I said Pardon on Jun 24, 2022 at 4:26 pm

So the same consultants used to make poor decisions in the Edmonton transit mess, (unpopular with those who use it there) make the same poor decisions in another jurisdiction (unpopular with those who use it here as well)...........
But instead of fixing the problems with the transit plan, our leadership here is more interested in fixing their hurt feelings........
Had Jocelyn Curtaneau (or any of the high-paid Transit staffers) actually done their jobs and researched this process BEFORE this was implemented..,,,

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