Taking the long way round on the Creemore bus
I had a very exciting week last week. I took a ride on Clearview Transit. I was casting about for something to do to get out of the house and yet not be exposed to too many people. Options to be alone in the area are many. I could take a hike on one of the many local trails, I could go for lunch at the KFC in Collingwood, or I could ride Clearview Transit. The last option seemed the safest bet. Every Thursday my friends and I go for wings at the Old Mill House Pub and we watch the bus roll up to the bus stop in front of the pub. Nobody gets on, and nobody gets off. It’s a complete mystery to me. Is there no one wanting to come to Creemore? And, if Creemore is so bad, is there not a gaggle of people wanting to leave Creemore? The bus seemed to me to be a great way to escape, so on Thursday last I packed my surgical mask and nitrile gloves into my knapsack and off I went. My wife dropped me off at the pub and the bus came by and scooped me up right on time at 5:06 p.m. Lenny, the driver, was so polite and really happy to see me. I paid my $2 and grabbed a seat. There were quite a few available. It wasn’t long before we picked up a second passenger in front of the arena on Collingwood Street. My co-rider was very pleasant and a wonderful conversationalist. She didn’t consult her cell phone once. I’m not sure she even had a cell phone. We chatted all the way to Stayner. The scenery was breath-taking and I had a chance to learn how important the bus was to my travel partner while we rumbled on towards Stayner. On the route into metropolitan Stayner, I was once again alone with Lenny and we stopped in front of the municipal offices to connect with the Simcoe County Linx bus service. The Linx connects with the Allandale GO station which really means the intrepid rider has a connection to the greater world. My imagination ran away with me as I digested this. There was enough time waiting for the connection to go cash a cheque at the TD Bank and, if you knew what book you wanted, to get a book at the Stayner Library. I did neither and chose to chat with Lenny. She, like me, was mystified that the bus had such low ridership. When my kids were in high school I would have loved to be able to put them on the bus to attend after school programs. The bus doesn’t seem to run late enough or regularly enough to accommodate these needs. There is famous story of the architect who designed a university campus and when it was completed the general contractor realized that the designer had neglected to layout the sidewalks and walking paths. The architect responded with the order to sod everything: “Next year, when we see where the students have trodden the grass, we’ll put in the sidewalks.” Perhaps if the bus had longer hours and was more regular at the onset more folks would be motivated to ride it. With a little more thought into designing who might find a way to use this new service the investment will be more meaningful.