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Transit users react to final day at Brodie terminal

A new temporary south-side bus terminal at city hall will take a little getting used to, but riders aren’t expecting any major challenges.
A new temporary south-side bus terminal at city hall will take a little getting used to, but riders aren’t expecting any major challenges.

Tracy Hopper, a semi-regular transit user, said she’s not sure how she feels about the loss of the longstanding Brodie Street terminal, which will be demolished later this spring to make way for the planned new provincial courthouse.

It closes for good on Wednesday.

"I very rarely manage to take the bus, but when I do, I’m so used to it being here, that the switchover at city hall is going to be mildly confusing for a few tries," said Hopper, one of 4,000 strong commuters who use the terminal on an average day.

"It probably will be (seamless), but people are going to be confused because they’re not turning at the lights over there, or over here. It’s gonna be ‘Where are we going, where are we going?’ But hey, it’s city hall, don’t worry about it, everything will be fine."

However, she’s not sure the transit authority has done the best job of letting people know about the impending change.

"I think they could have done a little bit better in the newspaper and TV, telling people about it," Hopper said. "I was on the bus earlier and a woman was saying she expected to be at city hall this morning instead of tomorrow."

On Tuesday a transit worker was on hand, distributing green pamphlets detailing the change.

What he was detailing wasn’t the city’s first choice.

Last month, after neighbours and surrounding businesses complained, council rejected city administration’s initial recommendation, a temporary terminal on Donald Street, between Brodie and Archibald streets.

On March 28 council agreed to use city hall in the short term and another site at Violet and North streets as longer-term, but still temporary site, until an expected centralized terminal is given the city’s OK.

Fellow rider Craig Davidson, a three-year user of Thunder Bay Transit, said there are bound to be some disruptions, calling it inevitable when locations are changed. He’s taking it nonchalantly.

"There’s nothing much we can do about it, so I’ll deal with it," he said. "It’s going to be a learning transition for a lot of people, changing from where they’re used to (being). Overall I just hope wherever it is, it’s well lit up, because a lot of bad stuff used to happen here. A lot of older people will be worried about security."

Transit manager Brad Loroff said he’s not forseeing any problems with the transition, noting they’ve been working on the plan for months and thinks his terminal attendants have done a good job educating the public about the changeover.

"From an operational perspective and our rider perspective, we don’t anticipate much of a big impact at all from them. It’s something that they should be able to get used to relatively easily.

"The city hall site is just going to be the primary transfer site for passengers on buses, just at it is (at) Brodie," Loroff said.

On Tuesday finishing touches were put on three shelters erected alongside city hall, in anticipation of Wednesday’s closure of the Brodie Street bus terminal.

To accommodate as many as nine buses, parking at city hall, on Donald, May and Brodie streets, has been temporarily suspended until the terminal is moved to its more permanent home.

Loroff said everything’s been done with the rider in mind.

"There’s no major impact to routes on the system," he said.

The city hall site, which will be paid for out of transit’s operating and capital budget, money already allocated for upkeep of the Brodie Street site will be in use for several months, Loroff added.

Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith is Dougall Media's director of news, but still likes to tell your stories too. Wants his Expos back and to see Neil Young at least one more time. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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