Guelph Transit reduces service this fall due to COVID-19

Reduced ridership prompts layoffs in September

Guelph, Ont., August 18, 2020 – This September, Guelph Transit’s current schedules will become permanent, and all extra/express routes serving the University of Guelph will be cancelled.

Due to COVID-19, only 1,000 University of Guelph students are expected to attend classes in person this fall. City Council voted to release the University of Guelph Central Students’ Association from its contract with Guelph Transit, and forecasted a loss of $3.5 million per semester.

To offset those financial losses, Guelph Transit considered several options to reduce fuel, maintenance and operating costs while maintaining critical public transit service.

As of September 6, nine full-time operators and eight part-time operators will be laid off, and 14 positions will remain vacant.

“We’re sorry we’re not able to keep these operators on our team. They stepped up during COVID-19 to help keep front-line workers working and get people to grocery stores and medical appointments. We are so grateful for their service to our community,” said the City’s Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Public Services, Colleen Clack.

Guelph Transit cost reductions and expected losses

University of Guelph U-Pass revenue loss ($ 3,495,000/semester)
Fall schedule fuel and maintenance cost reductions $ 246,192/semester
Staff reductions $ 685,240/semester
Expected revenue from post-secondary pass $ 272,000/semester
Net revenue loss ($2,291,568/semester)

Provincial and Federal Emergency funds

The City recently announced it would receive $5.1 million in operating funds for transit as part of the Provincial and Federal Safe Restart agreement. Details about this and possible future phases of funding are not yet known.

“While Provincial and Federal emergency funds do provide much-needed relief right now, they are not a sustainable revenue source. We don’t know when ridership will return to normal levels, and we still need to operate transit responsibly and efficiently,” said Clack. “With up to 60 per cent fewer riders, we simply don’t need to run as many buses as often.”

To manage costs and keep transit service more affordable for riders and taxpayers, Guelph Transit will increase service based on ridership.

Provincial and Federal emergency funds will be included in the proposed operating budget for Guelph Transit this fall.

Bus passes for post-secondary students

Post-secondary students attending college or university in Guelph can purchase a semester pass for $272.

Students who live in Guelph and whose household income is less than $22,759/year can apply for Guelph’s affordable bus pass.

All Guelph Transit routes will continue operating on a 30-minute schedule Monday to Saturday. Sunday and holiday schedules are unchanged.

Visit guelph.ca/transit for more information about schedules and fares.

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Media Contact

Stacey Hare
Corporate Communications and Customer Service
City of Guelph
519-822-1260 extension 2611
[email protected]