Guelph Transit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Guelph Transit
Guelph Transit logo.png
Guelph Transit.jpg
Slogan On your way
Founded 1895 (Street Railway)
Headquarters 170 Watson Rd S.
Service area Guelph
Service type Bus service, Paratransit
Routes 26
Hubs 3
Fleet 70 buses[1]
Daily ridership 20,000[1]
Operator City of Guelph
Website Guelph Transit Website
Most buses still carry the old city crest, as the new branding gets phased in

The Guelph Transit Commission is a small public transportation agency that operates transit bus services in Guelph, Ontario, Canada. Established in 1929 after the closure of the Guelph Radial Railway Company streetcar lines, Guelph Transit has grown to comprise over 70 buses serving 28 transit routes.

The main terminus is located downtown at Guelph Central Station and at University of Guelph, with a smaller facility at Stone Road Mall. GO Transit buses and trains on the Kitchener corridor and Via Rail also stop at Guelph Central Station. Greyhound and regional bus services continue to use the temporary Guelph Bus Terminal at Wyndham and Fountain St.


The City of Guelph is located approximately 55 miles (89 km) west of Toronto. Nicknamed the Royal City (reflecting the House of Hanover, known in its native Germany as the House of Welf), Guelph's street railway operated from 1895 until 1939 along five routes. It was also the western terminus of the Guelph line of the Toronto Suburban Railway.

Street railway[edit]

By the late 19th century, Guelph had become such a size that public transportation had pretty much become a necessity. Serious discussion concerning a street railway began in 1875, and the Guelph Street Railway Company was formed in 1877.[2] The company failed to get a franchise for its proposed horse-car line, and the idea was abandoned.

The Sleeman line[edit]

In 1894, Guelph City Council granted a street railway franchise to local businessman George Sleeman for a term of twenty years, for which the Guelph Railway Company was incorporated in April 1895.[3] Construction began immediately thereafter, using 56 pound rail. The initial route of the GRC was south along Woolwich Street, through the downtown and along Dundas Road, with a second line running from the Sleeman owned Silvercreek Brewery on Waterloo Avenue, to the Canadian Pacific and Grand Trunk (later Canadian National) Railway stations. Total distance of these two lines was approximately 4 12 miles (7.2 km). Electrical equipment for 600 volt operation, three closed and two open cars were supplied by the Canadian General Electric Company. A stone car-barn and powerhouse were also built. The carbarn later served as the garage for the Guelph Transportation Commission buses until the 1970s, and still stands today at 371 Waterloo Avenue.

Sleeman operated a brewery on Waterloo Avenue and expected that his employees would travel back and forth to work on his system. He also built a skating rink and park behind his brewery.

Operation began on September 17, 1895, with 20 minute service being provided between 5 am and 11 pm, Monday to Saturday. New lines were soon built including Suffolk, added in 1896, O.A.C (Ontario Agricultural College) in 1902 and York Road in 1911.

The Company's charter was extended in 1901 to provide for a line to be constructed to Hespeler, forming a loop line with Puslinch Lake.[4]

Guelph Radial Railway[edit]

George Sleeman continued to own the line until late 1902 when control passed to the Bank of Montreal and the Traders Bank of Canada. The name of the company was also changed to the Guelph Radial Railway Company, with authority to build lines to Mount Forest, Erin, Galt and Preston,[5] but none of these lines were ever built. The City of Guelph was also authorized to acquire the company, which it subsequently did,[6] with related legislation being passed in 1905.[7]

Ridership doubled between 1902 and 1906 resulting in more rolling stock being purchased in 1906 and again in 1911. In 1903, the city of Guelph purchased the street railway for $78,000, which included eight miles of track, eight closed and three open cars.

Freight service had been introduced in 1900 using a small four-wheel locomotive, with traffic being interchanged with the Grand Trunk Railway. This business increased to a point where in 1911 a new 27-short ton locomotive, #26, was purchased from Preston Car & Coach, along with two 2-truck 'Prairie' type streetcars, #60 and #70. In 1913, another 'Prairie' car, #80, was added with two more, #90 and #100, being acquired in 1914. The Prairie cars were 45 feet 10 inches (13.97 m) in length and were double ended. All five 'Prairie' cars were transferred to the Toronto and York Radial Railway in 1925 and renumbered 151 to 155. A second freight interchange was added on Suffolk Street in 1915 and a connection was made with the new Toronto Suburban Railway line in 1917.

Ontario Hydro[edit]

Both the Canadian Pacific Railway and Ontario Hydro made offers to buy the Guelph system. Ontario Hydro won out and took title to the Railway, under the name Ontario Hydro Electric Railways–Guelph District, on May 21, 1921.[8] Some lines were rebuilt and some extended, and Sunday service began July 25, 1921. Seven single-truck Birney cars numbered 219 to 225 were acquired in 1922. These were built by Canadian Brill at the former Preston Car & Coach plant in nearby Preston, Ontario.

The first bus, a 29-seat Gotfredson, was placed in service in 1926 on Eramosa Road. This service was discontinued on October 31, 1927, due to significant losses, however, the service was reinstated the following year with a smaller bus. A second bus was used when streetcar tracks were under repair.

Operating losses began to climb beginning in 1927. The Suffolk line was removed in 1929 due to its poor condition and the cost of rebuilding, being replaced by bus service.

In 1926, Ontario Hydro tried to sell the system back to the City of Guelph, but were refused. Finally, in June 1937, City Council recommended the discontinuance of the streetcars, September 30, 1937, being the final day of operation, buses replacing them the next day. In 1939, the Ontario Legislature passed an Act transferring the system to the newly created Guelph Transportation Commission (now called Guelph Transit).[9] Electric freight service continued to operate until May 26, 1939.[10]

Bus service to the present day[edit]

Guelph Transit has bus routes that cover the entire city. Sunday service was added in 2001, new routes were added over the last five years. Guelph Transit's garage and other city works moved from Waterloo Avenue to 12 Municipal Street in the 1970s . In the late 1990s, a new transit facility was constructed on Watson Road.

On June 20, 2007, Guelph Transit launched a web-based system known as Next Bus.[11] Global positioning satellites (GPS) technology and advanced computer modeling provide riders via the Internet, handheld devices (including Palms, Blackberries, and Web-capable cellular phones), or their telephones to receive accurate, real-time arrival and departure information. This system has proven frustrating to some Guelphites, as Guelph Transit has removed posted information on bus arrival times and a user standing at a bus stop without a cell phone has no way of determining when the next bus will arrive. Additionally, the system's predictions have been known to be wildly inaccurate.[12]

The new system features web-based map displays with local streets and routes, and real-time information available on the web. It will also incorporate dynamic transit display signs at key locations around the city. One such sign is already in place at Stone Road Mall. However, the service is limited in that the time displayed is linked to the scheduled arrival on the applicable timetable, not the anticipated arrival based upon the current location of the bus.

Guelph Transit added holiday service in 2007 as well as additional routes serving the south end of the city. Services on these routes (56, 57, and 58) were suspended in April 2008, and the 54 Arkell route was extended to St Georges Square in July 2008.

As identified in the 2010 budget, Guelph Transit is modifying frequency and service hours in order to achieve targeted savings. These savings will be realized by shifting from a 20-minute service frequency to a 30-minute frequency in June, July, and August, making the weekday service schedules the same as Saturdays. Holiday service has also been cancelled for 2010.

On January 1, 2012, Guelph Transit launched a complete new system of routes and schedules to accommodate a growing demand for change within the transit system. The system includes new transfer points at Guelph Central Station and the University of Guelph. During peak service times, buses run on a 20-minute schedule. During non-peak service times, including Saturday and Sunday, service will continue to run on a 30-minute schedule. Guelph Transit currently holds a 1.6 out of 5 rating of its services from its customers as seen on their Facebook page.


Work is underway to convert the Guelph railway station and current Greyhound Bus Terminal into a Regional Transit Facility by 2014. The terminal opened up to Guelph Transit Buses in May 2012.

In 2009 and 2010 Guelph Transit and Dillon Consulting developed a new Transit Growth Strategy and Plan[13] for transit and mobility services. In developing a long term vision for transit in Guelph, the system was analyzed from customer, staff, technical and policy perspectives.


Regular service[edit]

No. Name Route Notes
1 College-Edinburgh Route 1A runs clockwise, Route 1B runs counterclockwise. Via University of Guelph, Stone Road Mall, Guelph Research Park, and Campus Estates Plaza. Does not service Guelph Central Station (GCS). Route 1A becomes Route 6 Harvard-Ironwood at UofG. Route 1B becomes Route 7 Kortright-Downey at UofG.
2 West Loop Route 2A runs clockwise from Bay 6, Route 2B runs counterclockwise from Bay 20. Via Downtown Guelph, SmartCentre Guelph, Woodlawn Road shopping centres, Conestoga College Guelph Campus, Stone Road Mall, and University of Guelph.
3 East Loop Route 3A runs clockwise from Bay 1, Route 3B runs counterclockwise from Bay 7. Via Downtown Guelph, University of Guelph, Victoria-York Plaza, SmartCentre Guelph, and St. Joseph's Health Centre.
4 York Runs from Bay 21 from Downtown Guelph to Watson Road industrial corridor via Victoria-York Plaza. Becomes Route 10 Imperial at GCS.
5 South Gordon Runs from Bay 4 from Downtown Guelph to University of Guelph to Goodwin Drive via Campus Estates Plaza. Becomes Route 14 Grange at GCS.
6 Harvard-Ironwood University of Guelph to Scottsdale Drive via Campus Estates Plaza, Guelph Research Park, and Stone Road Mall. Becomes Route 1A College-Edinburgh at UofG.
7 Kortright-Downey University of Guelph to Ptarmigan Drive via Campus Estates Plaza. Becomes Route 1B College-Edinburgh at UofG.
8 Stone Road Mall Runs from Bay 7 from Downtown Guelph to Stone Road Mall via McCrae House Museum. Becomes Route 12 General Hospital at GCS.
9 Waterloo Runs from Bay 8 from Downtown Guelph to Elmira Road via Waterloo Avenue. Becomes Route 13 Victoria Road Rec Centre at GCS.
10 Imperial Runs from Bay 3 from Downtown Guelph to West End Community Centre via Paisley Road. Becomes Route 4 York at GCS.
11 Willow West Runs from Bay 15 from Downtown Guelph to Speedvale Avenue via Willow West Mall. Becomes Route 16 Southgate at GCS
12 General Hospital Runs from Bay 19 from Downtown Guelph to Woodlawn Road via Guelph General Hospital and Speedvale Plaza. Becomes Route 8 Stone Road Mall at GCS.
13 Victoria Road Rec Centre Runs from Bay 18 from Downtown Guelph to Eastview Road via Victoria Road Recreation Centre. Becomes Route 9 Waterloo at GCS.
14 Grange Runs from Bay 22 from Downtown Guelph to Watson Parkway via Elizabeth Street. Becomes Route 5 Gordon at GCS.
15 University-College University of Guelph to College Avenue via Guelph Research Park and Stone Road Mall.
16 Southgate Runs from Bay 2 from Downtown Guelph to Hanlon Industrial Park via Gordon Street. Does not serve University of Guelph transit hub. Becomes Route 11 Willow West at GCS
20 Northwest Industrial Runs from Bay 14 from Downtown Guelph to Northwest Industrial via Willow Road.
50 Stone Road Express University of Guelph to Stone Road Mall. Weekday service only. No service May - August.
56 Victoria Express University of Guelph to Westminster Woods via Victoria Road and Arkell Road. Weekday service only. No service May - August.
57 Harvard Express University of Guelph to Ironwood Drive via Campus Estates Plaza. Weekday service only. No service May - August.
58 Edinburgh Express University of Guelph to Kortright Street via Guelph Research Park and Campus Estates Plaza. Weekday service only. No service May - August.

Special routes[edit]

  • Community Bus North: midday Mon-Sat variable route service between Downtown Guelph and SmartCentre Guelph.
  • Community Bus South: midday Mon-Sat variable route service between Downtown Guelph and Stone Road Mall.
  • Guelph Public Health: midday weekday service from Gordon Street to Wellington-Dufferin Public Health Office
  • Guelph Transit GO Shuttle Service : four buses making a single round trip (starting points: Gosling Gardens, West End Community Centre, Victoria Road Recreation Centre, SmartCentre Guelph) to/from the Guelph Central GO Station.[14]


Wheelchair-accessible low-floor buses such as this Nova LFS now form the majority of the Guelph Transit fleet. The bus is also equipped with a bicycle rack on the front grille


Fares effective September 1, 2011:[15]


  • $3.00 per ride


  • Adult - 10 tickets for $22.00
  • Student - 10 tickets for $18.50
  • Senior - 10 tickets for $18.50


  • Adult - $68.00 per month
  • Student - $62.00 per month
  • Senior - $57.00 per month
  • Children under 5 - free
  • Day Pass - $7.00

Monday-Friday the Day Pass is valid for one person after 9:15 a.m. and Saturday-Sunday valid all day. On Saturday-Sunday the Day Pass is also valid for a family/group pass consisting of the following:

  • 1 adult and not more than 4 children/youths 18 years of age or under, or
  • 2 adults and not more than 3 children/youths 18 years of age or under, or
  • 2 adults

GO Transit Integrated Fare

  • $0.60 per ride with valid GO Fare media (Single ride, day pass, and Presto Card) .

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Media related to Guelph Transit at Wikimedia Commons