Back in July, Brandon Transit did a complete overhaul of their route system. And when I say “complete”, I mean “complete” – almost all were replaced (rest in peace, City Circular), and the one that did survive still passed through the meat grinder a little. If you’re a user of Brandon Transit who’s been away from Brandon for the summer, or just haven’t taken the bus for a while, you may find yourself a bit lost. No worries – your guide to Brandon Transit’s new route system is right here.
Brandon Transit’s previous route system was in use since 2002. They claim it was implemented as a hub-and-spoke model, in which several routes travel along “spokes” back and forth from a central “hub”. However, the new routes do a much better job of being hub-and-spokey, with all regular routes (except one, which circles the south end of the city) starting at the downtown terminal (the “hub”) and fanning out in straight-ish paths to the edges of the city (along the “spokes”). Though it may now take longer to get from some places to some other places, the advantage to the new routes is that they’re a heckuva lot easier for navigation – just take the closest route downtown, then take the route that goes in the general direction of where you want to get to. The one caveat to this new system is that during off-peak hours, when routes go on hourly service instead of half-hourly, you may find yourself waiting downtown for a while if the next route you need to take starts at the wrong end of the hour.
But since we’re all Brandon University students here, what routes have stops at/close to the university? As luck would have it, quite a few. Route 8 (Maryland West) is the first, and likely of the most interest, as it provides the shortest, most direct ride from the university (18th Street and Louise Avenue) to the downtown terminal. It also has a stop on the opposite end of the university, at 20th and Princess, and goes to the Shopper’s Mall before traveling back up 18th Street. Route 14 (Victoria West) isn’t too bad to get downtown, either, if you’ve got the time and/or proximity to make it to 20th and Victoria, though it doesn’t go to as many places of interest.
Route 17 (South Central) won’t take you downtown in any sort of hurry, but it’s the most direct route to anywhere on 18th Street, south of the Assiniboine, from the university. In fact, you can traverse most of 18th Street using just the 8 and 17. After that, it loops through some fancy-looking housing developments and goes back downtown via 9th, then 10th, Street. Route 22 (Riverheights West) has two stops on the north end of campus, and also eventually goes downtown, but since it loops through even more of what passes for suburbia in Brandon, it’s probably not worth your time.
Of course, I can only do so much to describe the new routes here. Brandon Transit’s website (brandontransit.ca) has maps of all the new routes, which are also posted at the north entrance to the Knowles-Douglas Centre. Even if you haven’t used Brandon Transit before, all Brandon University students get unlimited access to Transit for a small fee included in our yearly tuition, so it may be worth checking out.