How you can prepare for Edmonton's transit overhaul
EDMONTON -- With one month to go until Edmonton's transit system sees its first major overhaul in decades, the city is trying to prepare residents for the change.
It's now offering a preview option on a third-party transit app that allows users to see what their trips will look like after the new bus network starts. Users must enter a date between April 25 and May 1 to see the change.
"There's good and bad. So there are communities in the west end that will now have transit, finally, after years of no transit," Ward 1 Coun. 1 Andrew Knack told CTV News Edmonton. "At the same time, people like myself who live on 156 Street actually lose a bus."
The new network will increase frequency on busier routes but will reduce service in areas where transit isn't used as much.
In total, 100 bus routes are being eliminated.
"It would be impossible to make everyone happy and to have a better experience with it unless you were to increase the budget," said Knack. "From the very beginning, council always said we have to make changes within the existing budget."
In a news release, the city said it highly recommends smartphone users rely on the third-party transit app for previewing trips since its schedules are accurate. It states other digital tools, such as Google Maps, are currently having technical issues but should be fixed by launch date.
"We're utilizing new technology to get people to where they're going," Ward 3 Coun. Jon Dziadyk told CTV News Edmonton. "But the problem is a lot of seniors and other folks that might not be proficient in English may have challenges using this new technology."
In 37 neighbourhoods that will be losing service, the city is offering an on-demand shuttle that will transfer users to nine transit hubs.
Those who use the service will be able to book with an app, online or over the phone. Users will not have to pay to use the shuttle but will have to pay to transfer.
While councillor Dziadyk has concerns about access he said the changes are going ahead.
"The decision has been made and on April 25 this will be rolled out," he said. "But there will be lots of attention paid to how smooth the rollout is, what hiccups there are and what can be done after the fact."