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The following question was posed and answered in the Facebook group St. John's Municipal Elections 2013. If you would like to participate in future discussion, you are more than welcome to join in.
Q: Question for Ward 2 candidates Jonathan Galgay, Andrew Harvey, Simon Lono.
This Metrobus transit study recommends upgrading route 10 (which joins Downtown to MUN/HSC/Avalon Mall) to provide buses every 15 minutes during peak hours. Would you support this? Would you push for this?
Andrew Harvey's answer: Absolutely. I think that far too often the city pays thousands of dollars on studies which sit on a shelf and are never acted on. There are also many other issues which need to be addressed with Metrobus but that would be a good start.
Jonathan Galgay's answer: I would support any recommendation which increases bussing for those who require efficient and reliable transportation, including the example you provided such as route 10.
Simon Lono's answer: I looked at the report and there are great things in it. Public transit is the kind of issue that really should be evidence/data based and it looks like that’s this report has done. It’s been a little while since I relied on Metrobus to get around (used it much more when my kids were younger) but in general the report jibes with what I recall and what I’ve been hearing more recently.
Should there be better, more and regular connections between Downtown to MUN/HSC/Avalon Mall (Route 10)? I’m not sure what route would have a higher demand than that one. I’d like to see what reasons Metrobus would have for NOT doing that because it seems to me pretty obvious that’s a heavily used route that many more would use if it ran at more convenient times.
One item that needs to be explored in more detail is the use of variable sized bus fleet. Why do all the busses have to be large, standard-sized, even during low traffic times? Why can’t we use smaller busses during low traffic times but still keep up the frequency schedule instead of a standard bus on a once in a blue moon schedule?
Scott Fitzgerald's answer: I would definitely support improving the Metrobus services to the downtown. Ultimately we have to encourage fewer cars in the downtown if we ever hope to tackle the parking problem and make this a more livable city. Without a public transit system that people can depend on no one is going to opt for leaving the car at home.
It was also revealed in discussion that one of the candidates, Jonathan Galgay, lives in the neighbourhood of Airport Heights and not in Ward 2. I wrote to him to confirm this and received the following reply.
Jonathan Galgay: As indicated on my web site, I live on Cherokee Drive which is in the east end of the City, the neighbourhood of Roncalli Estates. My wife and I moved to this neighbourhood a few years ago after living on Hamilton Ave, where my mother currently resides. I was raised and educated in Ward 2, and my father operated a business there for over 40 years until his death a few years ago. I would like to point out that there is no requirement for any member of City Council, or MHA to reside in their constituency. Like many others, Councillor Frank Galgay resided outside Ward 2 for the 16 years he represented the Ward. Where one lays their head at night should not be a determining factor in their ability to represent the best interests of residents.