On Feb. 10 it was announced by OC Transpo that, effective April 24, the transitway between Laurier and Lees, which includes Campus Station, will be closed temporarily due to construction on the new light rail transit (LRT) system. This wouldn’t be too much of an issue, if it weren’t for the fact that final exams end on April 27.
The problem isn’t with the LRT itself, but rather with the ham-fisted way in which the City has gone about preparing for and carrying out the construction. This closure couldn’t come at a more inopportune time—those who are unfortunate enough to have an exam on or after April 24 will now have to face the extra hurdle of figuring out an alternate travel route to campus.
The closure of Campus Station is unfortunately just the latest example of what little regard the City and OC Transpo give to the needs of student commuters.
Back in December 2015, the reduction of service at Lees Station, coupled with the earlier closure of the transitway between Blair and Hurdman, caused much inconvenience and frustration for students due to the increased travel time between campus and the east end.
But students coming from the west end are no better off, as the closure between Tunney’s Pasture and LeBreton Flats has increased travel time in that direction as well. The City insists these closures are necessary to ensure that LRT construction is completed on time for 2018.
The closure of Campus Station at the end of April does students no favours by adding further inconvenience and stress to what is already a stressful time. Students who have exams held at the south end of campus, for example, will no longer have a straightforward way to get there.
The construction which is taking place on the campus itself already acts as hindrance for students trying to get from one point to another, and with the closure of Campus Station mobility around the university’s main campus will become further restricted at this busy time.
While the City have a construction schedule to stick to, have they really taken the time to think about what impact this closure will have on students, let alone other commuters? The last thing that anyone needs the day before their exam is an impromptu announcement that Campus Station is closed and to be left to scramble for a back-up plan.
The City need to more carefully examine the impact which transitway closures and construction has on commuters, especially students, in order for there to be less disruptions and inconvenience in the future.