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Low bus frequency a constant problem for Durham

From workers to students, the Durham Region Transit (DRT) buses have become a staple mode of transport for thousands of daily commuters in the region.

DRT is Ontario’s largest regional transit system. According to the organization’s official website, they “offer seamless connections to destinations across Durham Region and The Greater Toronto Hamilton Area.”

While the DRT is still popular, residents are unhappy with its services.

According to a Durham College student, Parth Deshpande: “It’s challenging when I travel to Ajax for work as I need to take two buses, and one of them often gets delayed.”

Students try to look for jobs which are at places that can be travelled to in a single bus ride.

While DRT is freely available to students, there are concerns that with more international students settling in the region, buses and bus stops are getting crowded.

According to Mansher Singh, who manages the Popeye’s outlet in Whitby, the frequency of the buses is not what it used to be. “The buses are very crowded these days. They should do something about it. Drop-off signs are a very frustrating sight,” Singh said.

When buses are filled, instead of showing the bus number, the sign says “Drop Off Only.” This indicates nobody can board the bus.

Singh used to work night shifts at Popeyes, from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m. He now works day shifts.

“I’m glad my shift timings got changed. Buses are scarce in the nights. Waiting at 3 a.m. in the cold for buses is not a pleasant experience,” Singh said.

The 905 B, which goes to Uxbridge, rolls out every one and a half hours. Another Durham College student, Ashka Patel, who works at Walmart in Port Perry, said: “The 905 Uxbridge [bus] has limited frequency, and I often have to wait an hour at the bus stop after my shift ends in order to get back home.”

A DRT driver preferring to remain anonymous said the buses often become overcrowded due to the growing population of international students in Durham.

In another development, residents of Niagara Drive have trouble taking a bus to travel north. A bus stop that was between Simcoe Street at Selleck as well as Simcoe Street at Commencement Drive was recently discontinued.

Durham College student Damanjeet Singh, who lives at Niagara Drive said, “I either have to walk till the college or to 1700 Simcoe if I want to take the bus north.”

“The walk isn’t a problem until you’re grocery shopping and have to carry the weight for that distance,” said Singh.

A recent update from Feb.21, 2023, said DRT will ‘be implementing service adjustments to increase service reliability’ to improve GO Transit connections.