Being left behind, 100 routes cut from transit redesign
EDMONTON -- A redesign of Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) includes cutting numerous under-used routes, a possibility that worries some transit users.
“If we go forward with this design, with this new network, we're leaving some people behind. We're losing service to some of those people, and that's a concern,” said Ward 9 Councillor Tim Cartmell.
On Nov. 7 the city unveiled the plans to overhaul the network, a plan that was five years in the making.
"The design of the service is really set up for a city of about 400,000, not a city of a million, and certainly not a city of two million," said Eddie Robar with Edmonton Transit Service.
The majority of Edmontonians will be a five to seven minute walk from a bus stop in the new system according to Robar.
For people not close enough to a bus stop the city is considering offering an on-demand service, possibly through a private company.
Calgary-based company Pacific Western believes it could offer on-demand services for less than the cost of a regular route.
“Savings over a conventional fixed route could be upwards of 30% or greater,” said John Stepovy, with Pacific Western.
PWTransit, a division of Pacific Western Transportation, is the group employed by St. Albert to provide its regular transit services.
The idea of privatizing any aspect of the transit system didn’t sit well with the transit union, some members wore “Keep Edmonton Transit Public” shirts to the meeting.
The union president said that ETS is already the best on-demand option.
“I believe our ETS operators are trained as well as anyone else in North America right now. So it's accountability, training and safety,” said Mark Tetterington.
City council voted in favor of the new bus network plan. Council also asked city staff to look into the cost of running a two-year pilot project for an on-demand passenger van service.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's Jeremy Thompson