North Bay Transit making changes in anticipation of increased ridership

With thousands of Canadore College and Nipissing University students coming into North Bay in the next few days, and more people in the community returning to work, North Bay Transit is making some changes to the way city buses will operate. (Eric Taschner/CTV News)

With thousands of Canadore College and Nipissing University students coming into North Bay in the next few days, and more people in the community returning to work, North Bay Transit is making some changes to the way city buses will operate.

Effective Sept. 7, earlier start times will be implemented for the 1a College/University, 3 Ski Club/Pinewood, 4 Junction, 6 Hornell-CFB, and 7 Birchaven routes.

A new 1c McKeown Corridor route will also be introduced and fixed route service will be extended to 7 p.m. Additionally, Dynamic Dispatch service hours will be adjusted and passenger limits will be increased to 40 persons per bus.

“The City of North Bay has remained committed to maintaining public transit as an essential service throughout the pandemic, adapting to public health restrictions and fluctuations in ridership,” said City Coun. Chris Mayne, who serves as the chair of council’s infrastructure and operations committee.

“Moving forward, we will continue to respond to the needs of the community.”

The new 1c McKeown Corridor route will increase frequency on McKeown Avenue and provide connections to the 1a College/University, 3 Ski Club/Pinewood and 6 Hornell-CFB routes at Shirreff and Algonquin avenues.

"We're really happy, as it will allow students to get to and from classes a lot easier, as well as get to the local businesses on McKeown," said Nipissing University Student Union president Joe McIntosh.

It will also include service to the North Bay Regional Health Centre by request, for drop off only. The 1c route will operate Monday to Friday from 7:19 a.m. to 10:49 a.m. and from 3:06 p.m. to 6:05 p.m. It will operate during a trial period and will utilize the intersection of Algonquin and Shirreff avenues as a decentralized hub.

This route will not travel to the downtown transit terminal, but will link at this hub with buses that do travel to the terminal and/or service other areas of the city.

Dynamic Dispatch hours will be adjusted to begin at 7 p.m. and end at 10:59 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Saturdays, end times will be extended to 10 p.m., while operations on Sunday will remain unchanged with Dynamic Dispatch offered all day.

All city buses are equipped with a barrier separating operators and passengers and face coverings are required on buses in accordance with public health directives.