Red Deer reduces transit, extends rec centre closures
The City of Red Deer has reduced transit hours and frequency as well as extending closures to recreation centres.
Starting Monday, Red Deer transit will have a one-hour schedule instead of a 30-minute schedule.
Between Monday to Saturday, the first bus will leave from Sorenson Station at 7:45 a.m. and the last bus will leave at 7:45 p.m. Passengers will now have to enter and exit the bus through the rear door with the exception of passengers who have wheel chairs. Every other seat on the transit bus will be blocked off to ensure the social distancing between passengers.
"The reason we have taken these measures is to enhance social distancing," said Tara Shand, Public Information Officer for the Emergency Operations Centre.
With the reduced frequency of transit buses, there is a concern from the public about ridership access. However, Shand said they’ve seen a significant reduction in ridership.
"We have seen a 60 per cent decrease in transit for our conventional bus usage," said Shand.
"We are prepared to adjust and modify if we need too."
Recreation and culture facilities closures have also been extended to June 30. The date has been set to notify residents of the potential length the closures could last. However, Shand said this end date is not definite.
"It was prudent to set that June 30 date, so that people understand the length of closure we are potentially looking at."
"If we need to make a change, whether it be to open later or sooner, we can adjust as we need too."
The closures have resulted in 120 casual employees losing their jobs. Registration for recreational programs will be suspended for dates up to June 30. Residents can apply for programs that are available from July 1 onwards.
Residents are encouraged to visit the city's website for the latest information about city service changes as a result of COVID-19. Residents can also call the call centre which is open between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.