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City transit: ‘Extremely hard to get up and down with my walker’

Transit Study: The City of Elliot Lake will be soliciting public input this month. A local resident hopes others come forward to voice their experiences during the public input phase

Elliot Lake senior, Stella Waddington, has been waiting patiently for an improvement to the local, regular transit busses that will make it easier to board with her walker.

"The current busses have steep steps to get on and off, and I find it extremely hard to get up and down with my walker," Waddington explained to the Public Services committee, last Thursday.

Waddington moved to Elliot Lake in 2018. At that time, the city busses had kneeling capability and air suspension. The problem was, they were very prone to mechanical issues because of our northern roads.

In 2019, the city purchased a more robust type of bus. While it did not have kneeling capability, the new busses were outfitted with a lift and spaces for persons using a wheelchair. At that time, council was also informed there was a drop-down step, reducing the step-up to about six inches.

However, the lift and the drop-down step do not appear to be used on a regular basis, if at all.

Waddington described a recent trip to other cities where she used public transit. "I recently came back from a trip to southern Ontario. I took Ontario Northland. And then I used the TTC - both the subway, the bus and street cars, and I had no problem," adding, she had the same experience with transit in Hamilton.

"Very easy, at all those transit systems."

Later, when Item 7.3 Transit Study Update came up on the agenda, Couns. Helen Lefebvre commented, "I would like to reiterate the comment that [Ms. Waddington] made awhile ago - having used public transit quite extensively in Toronto."

Lefebvre added, "I did take half a day, to ride the public transit in Elliot Lake so I could feel what people are going through. I would highly suggest that council do the same."

"I think if we all spend half a day riding in our transit system, we would have a better understanding of why people are complaining about it," she said.

Lefebvre spoke favourably about the transit study noting, "There are opportunities to make a lot of changes that will significantly impact the people in our community who depend on public service."

Couns. Charles Flintoff also commented, noting that the public input has been expanded from web page input only, to include in-person input.

"The more input we get - we will try and change things to make it better," he said as he thanked staff for expanding the input methods.

The transit study Public Input is planned to happen this month. ElliotLakeToday has reached out to the city for more information to share with readers.


Stephen Calverley

About the Author: Stephen Calverley

Stephen loves the outdoors and municipal life. He writes to inform readers and encourage citizen participation.
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