City Scope readers have their say on transit and hospital


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I’ve always maintained the success of City Scope is due to the loyalty of faithful readers who take time out of their busy schedules each week to digest the column, and their willingness to freely pass along comments and criticism.
Here are just two examples from this week’s mailbag.
Joe Caverly of St. Thomas attended Thursday’s transit open house at city hall and wanted to share his observations.
“I got a positive feeling after talking with the representative about my issues, and the direction in which St. Thomas Transit is going,” Joe offered.
“While I do not agree with the change to one-hour schedules for some of the routes, I was told that this was just the consultant’s recommendation and that public feedback may override these changes.

”I did like the changes to the routes, especially the Northside route. So many people in the new Dalewood Meadows, who are trying to get along with one vehicle, will no doubt look forward to having the ability to take a bus now, saving them some money,” Joe writes.
“One thing that struck me was how they say ridership has declined, which I agree it has. When I asked why it had declined, I was told it was because people only use the bus to go shopping or for medical appointments.
“I disagreed with that statement. I said I take the bus to get to work, and I had stopped taking it in May, as the bus was not always on time, and I could not afford to be late for work. I said I had to find another means of getting to work which was more reliable. This was also echoed by other people.”
Joe continues with a key consideration.
“Many people, when the bus is late, usually end up having to call a cab, which costs more than the bus (of course). I have not met one transit rider who would not mind an increase in fares for St. Thomas Transit, if the system was more reliable.
That is the key, Joe suggests.
“A reliable and dependable transit system will get riders. If it is not reliable, they will find another, usually more expensive, method of getting to their destination.
”I guess it all depends on who wants your money more, St. Thomas Transit or the cab companies. St. Thomas Transit has shown, so far, that they do not want our money. Hopefully this will change as a result of the open house.”
Who needs consultants and focus groups when you’ve got invaluable input like the above and the following insight on St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital.

TELL ’EM WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND
Cassie Stafford is a delight to talk to.
She’s long since retired, is a staunch defender of the English language (heck she even offered to consult the T-J newsroom in matters of grammar and spelling), would likely be your favourite grandmother and, best of all, isn’t shy in offering up an opinion.
That’s why we couldn’t resist printing her thoughts, via a letter she forwarded to us that mirrors this corner’s penchant for seeking answers to the difficult questions.
“The St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital Community Connections flyer received in my mailbox recently has left many questions,” writes Cassie in her impeccable penmanship.
“I fail to equate a new hospital logo with improved and maximum patient care. When entering the hospital for treatment or emergency care, it would seem that the hospital logo may be the last concern on a patient’s mind.”
She’s just getting warmed up.
“Has maximum patient care not been practiced heretofore, before the advent of a new logo? I had hoped that his same care had been practiced throughout the hospital’s history.”
And now the clincher.
“Where was the board of governors during the sanction of such a logo expenditure?”
As a parting thought, Cassie advises “I appreciate, without question, the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital, but wonder how hospital care can be a byproduct of a logo?”
To CEO Paul Collins and board chairman Bruce Babcock, do yourself a favour and engage in dialogue with honest individuals like Cassie Stafford. They really are your greatest supporters.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“We never used to have to watch what we said around Jackson. We could say whatever we wanted with no fears of him repeating it. But he repeats everything now.”
The absolutely delightful assessment of the improvements Carrie Pasch has seen in her seven-year-old son Jackson Vandermark after his complex stem cell procedure in Germany to treat his cerebral palsy. And as an aside, when you’ve had one of the days
when you think the entire world has been piled on your shoulders, reflect for a moment at the sheer joy gracing the young man’s face on the front page of Thursday’s T-J.

City Scope appears Saturday in the Times-Journal. Questions and comments may be emailed to: mccallum@stthomastimesjournal.com.

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