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  • Dipanshu Grover

Another year; Another challenge for CBU and CBRM transit

As the fall colours start to bloom and the cool breeze starts to blow around, life suddenly seems to look beautiful for a student coming to Cape Breton for University.

But that`s not the whole part of the story. What if going back and forth to classes becomes a challenge for students?

With the influx of international students at Cape Breton University for the fall academic session, transit facilities become another challenge for CBU and CBRM. Long queues at the bus stops around different locations, especially from Sydney to CBU makes it difficult for students to reach classes on time.

Changing weather especially when it rains heavily makes the situation even worse.Imagine someone standing in rain waiting for the bus to go to school. With the winter weather coming in almost a month or so, students are worried more about going back and forth to classes.

Aashish,who hails from Gujarat,India lives in Rock cliff crescent area in Sydney mentions that to reach his morning class at 8:30 am, he comes to bus stop almost an hour before as the buses are already full that are coming from previous bus stops.

Ruchi, who is in her 2nd year in public health program says that apart from weekdays, its on the weekends as well that she faces problems too because of the lesser frequency of the buses.

On the other hand, Rushi who has been living in cape breton for almost 2 years says that the situation has been improved a lot since the time he has been here.

Joel Mary Jinshin, second year student said,“ I’m using the bus back and forth to CBU. The bus services are really good and the staff too. I’m coming with my baby who is nine months old with a car seat and a stroller. The staff makes sure that me and my baby are safe in the bus and I get down the bus safely on the bus stop.  They are caring not only for me but others too . They greet everyone with a beautiful smile and make our day so special“

Trisha Hayes, who is from Cape Breton,mentioned about the need of more buses and bus routes in Whitney Pier area as people have to walk incredibly far to get to the bus which is unacceptable in the winters.

While talking to Ben Nguyen, another CBU student mentioned that CBRM is is doing significantly great. Its just that the number of students who joined CBU this year outweighs the output of CBRM transit which brings the need to get more buses during peak hours.

With the increase in demand for bus passes by the students, CBU Student`s Union have been offering a 30 CAD discount on a three month student bus pass.

On September 21, 2018 , delegates from CBU and CBRM transit signed a Memorandum Of Understanding to address the issues related to student transit.

Recently, Student`s Union president Parteek Brar (Gunny) and Vice President Samuel Shaji were seen interacting with students to address the issues related to transit.

The Caper Times interviewed President Brar regarding the same.Following is an excerpt of that interview:

CT: Mr. President you have been in CBU and Cape Breton for almost four years now and you have been familier with the student issues more than anyone. So, whats your take on the transportation issue ?

GB: Since the last four years,I have seen transit grow a lot to match the needs of growing International student body. Definitely, this year we`re feeling a challenge as the numbers are growing up in terms of transit users and we have been actively working with CBRM transit and CBU to get more buses on road.

CT: It was last year, when there was huge influx of International students as we observed. Also, CBU and CBRM transit signed a Memorandum of Understanding, so are there any updates regarding the same ?

GB: Yes, CBU along with CBRM transit signed a memorandum to facilitate the communication between both the parties and to enhance the deliverable services to its major users which are CBU International students .Since last year, they have added over nine buses to the schedule and they have started a Sunday bus service. I am looking forward to CBU and CBRM to work in that direction and accomodate students who need transportation.

CT: Recently, you held a survey at the campus to get the real issue about transportation. So, what did the students say ?

GB: It was more of meeting to interact with the students to figure out what the issues are, in terms of high traffic zones where the wait times are higher or the students are not able to get to CBU or home because of the bus schedule. So, we did get some input and we shall do more sessions at various bus stops across the city to meet students in person and to gather the information.

CT: We also talked to a few students around the campus.Most of them are complaining about the long queues not just at the bus stop at the campus, but also at various locations across the busy route, that is from downtown Sydney to CBU.

GB: So, there are two parts to that problem.With regards to CBU bus stop, the work that Student`s union has been advocating , CBU is getting a new bus shelter at the subway bus stop. Also, regarding the bus stops in the city, CBRM is also trying to get more bus shelters at the busy spots. But at the same, that is a problem all across Canada as well. Even the country that I come from,back home in India, there are long queues for buses and there is no quick fix for that but they shall build more shelters at various locations.

CT: With the winter weather coming up in not so long, so the bus shelter at the CBU bus stop is the new update. .Is there any role of Student`s union regarding the bus shelter.

GB: In terms of Student`s Union, we do the advocacy work between CBU and CRM, in order to get the demands of the students. we are not a part of the memorandum, but CBU and CBRM do involve the Student`s union in their official meetings.

With regard to student concerns, CBU is building an on campus bus shelter, the construction for which shall begin by Sept 30, 2019.The facility shall provide expanded protection from elements and seating for transit users waiting for the buses. In the meanwhile, the bus stop will be relocated at roadway in front of Student, Culture and Heritage Building.The roadway will be for transit usage only. All other vehicles will be rerouted around the parking lot around University Boulevard to avoid congestion.

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