Burlington for Accessible, Sustainable Transit (BFAST) welcomes today’s announcement that Sue Connor, general manager of Brampton Transit, has been appointed as Director of Burlington Transit. She has impressive credentials and has been involved in some interesting initiatives to improve service and increase ridership in Brampton. Congratulations to both her and the city.
Under Connor’s direction, Brampton Transit introduced Züm, a rapid-transit route that features plush seats, heated shelters and laptop plugins. Last year, it became one of eight Ontario communities to participate in a trial of zero-emission, electric buses. And ridership in Brampton has risen the most of any community in the GTA over the past few years.
Her new approaches will be welcome in Burlington. But her biggest challenge will be to get anything done with a city council that has been extremely hostile to transit. Brampton Transit’s $1.00 senior fares, for example, would hit a brick wall at Burlington’c city council, which recently refused to experiment with free off-peak fares for over-65s. And she’ll have a tough row to hoe in trying to restore the provincial money that council took from transit to “shave and pave” residential streets (a move premised on highly suspect long-term savings).
“There are really big challenges ahead for transit in Burlington,” said BFAST Chair Doug Brown. “I hope the City gives her and Burlington Transit the additional resources needed to improve and grow. (Burlington spends less than one half per capita than the average of GTA municipalities on transit).”
While Brampton’s transit ridership has increased some 15% over the past three years, Burlington’s has plummeted by about the same amount. Ms. Connor will have the challenge of her career to restore Burlington’s transit system.
BFAST also wishes to thank Jeff Black, who brought a breath of fresh air as Burlington Transit’s Acting Director over the past few months. Jeff was open to new ideas and to meeting with transit users. We appreciated his attendance at this year’s Transit Users’ Forum and his commitment to Burlington Transit during his short tenure. We wish him well in future.
We at BFAST will look forward to working with Ms. Connor for better transit in Burlington.