March 29, 2019 9:07 am
Updated: March 29, 2019 5:03 pm

London’s Old North route changes to include connection between Fanshawe College, Western University

Changes are coming to London's bus service beginning in September 2019.

Matthew Trevithick/980 CFPL

Some major changes are coming to London’s public transportation this fall, particularly in the north end, as the city’s bus service will soon provide direct connections between Western University and Fanshawe College.

READ MORE: New London Transit Commission HQ a matter of when and how, not if: Coun. Phil Squire

The current Route 27, which runs from Adelaide and Kipps to Fanshawe College, and Route 29, which runs from Oxford and Wonderland to Western University, will be interlined along Huron Street, affording riders in the north end a more direct east-west route. The combined route will be named Route 27.

“That’s a major improvement, especially for the people who live in the Kipps Lane area who are either going east to Fanshawe or west to Western,” said city councillor and transit commissioner Jesse Helmer.

“That’s an area in my ward, for example, where 30 or 40 per cent of people are taking transit to work so that’s a major step forward.”

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Helmer said the change was part of a package of service upgrades approved by the commission at a meeting on Wednesday. The changes also include rerouting Route 1.

“That would’ve been too much service, essentially, into that one little section so we rerouted the 1 to try to cover some other areas in Old North. Instead of going west on Oxford and then north on Richmond, it now runs right up Colborne all the way to Cheapside and then heads over to Adelaide.”

Route 1 is also being rerouted in the south end, staying on Wellington Street until Base Line instead of zigzagging through a residential area.

The London Transit Commission (LTC) says the changes will provide a faster north-south route and will also increase safety, taking out an unprotected left turn off of Wellington Street.

“I think everyone who’s taken transit wants to walk the shortest distance they can to get to their stop and I think there’s an opportunity, frankly, to get the service back into that neighbourhood after we build the RT (rapid transit) corridor on Wellington,” Helmer explained.

“Because there will be a signal in the plans for the RT corridor at Bond and Wellington. But for safety reasons, I supported that change.”

City councillor and LTC vice-chair Phil Squire wasn’t entirely supportive and wishes the city would have waited.

“One of the elements of this was removing this route off of Richmond Street largely, in my view, because the (bus rapid transit) was going to be on Richmond Street,” he explained.

“Once that got out of the equation, a lot of people would’ve preferred to see that route stay on Richmond Street in the north London neighbourhood and stay on Huron Street in the north London neighbourhood.”

READ MORE: London city council doubles down on partial approval of unbundled BRT plan

Still, Squire noted that the changes aren’t “monumental.”

“I think, to a certain extent, these changes are going to happen, people are going to adjust. They’re upset now, but like any change, there will be adjustment and we’ll move on.”

Changes to Route 1 were supposed to be finalized at the end of January, but negative public feedback, including two petitions by area residents, prompted further consultation.

An LTC staff report noted that the second round of feedback in February showed that the vast majority of respondents felt “neutral” about the proposed changes.

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The changes are expected to be implemented in September 2019.

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