Update on Bus-It 2020-2021
June 2nd, 2020
Kingston, ON – The Alma Mater Society, in consultation with the City of Kingston has opted to terminate the Bus-It Program for the 2020-2021 school year, in light of the impact of COVID-19. This decision resulted from discussions held over a period of several weeks. Kingston Transit is operating at a significantly reduced capacity. Hours and routes are reduced; rides are free and social distancing is being maintained during operations, which affects the number of people allowed to ride the bus. These circumstances have severely impacted Kingston Transit’s ability to provide transit in the City at large even during a time when most students have left Kingston to return home.
Due to the many uncertainties associated with the operations of Kingston Transit, the City was unable to provide the assurance that operations in the fall would remain the same as seen in previous years. Special routes negotiated through this Bus-It Program to specifically serve student needs were not guaranteed for the fall. These are including but not limited to Route 17, Route 18 and Route 20. What limited resources are available will be focused on improving operations to the rest of Kingston.
This decision is made in consideration of ensuring there is value to students who are paying the mandatory fee. The funding for the Bus-It program comes from a mandatory fee of $93.82, which the AMS does not have the option to list as an optional fee this year per contract. As a result, the AMS, alongside the City of Kingston has determined that the current agreements will not meet the needs of most post-secondary students due to the reduction in service levels being provided and the predominantly remote semester that will take place in the fall.
Typically, this contract is renegotiated every three years to ensure students receive the best deal possible while being able to access safe and accessible transit options routes that serve their evolving needs. However, the Bus-It program will be reassessed for the 2021-2022 school year. The AMS looks forward to providing the same valued service at that time.
Kingston Transit is committed to continuing to work with the AMS to find a solution to provide Queen’s University students who will be in Kingston in September with access to public transit. We are currently in consultations to determine how to reintegrate this service in the future to serve our students best.
Alma Mater Society (AMS) – //www.myams.org
The central undergraduate student government at Queen’s University, the AMS represents over 18,000 students and is the oldest student government in Canada. There are over 1,000 student volunteers and 700 paid staff.