EDMONTON -- School service will begin along with mandatory masks for all riders on transit buses in Red Deer starting Monday.

According to George Penny, Red Deer’s transit manager, many parents were concerned that there would be new school service routes along with the new transit network that was implemented on Aug. 23.

“With a new school year kicking off for most Red Deer students, our school service routes pick up again to ensure transportation to and from school is in place,” said Penny.

“Although we’ve revamped all regular transit routes, all school routes, stops and schedules remain unchanged from last year, so students who used these buses will see no changes in their commute.”

Parents who in the past integrated the regular routes into their children’s school commute will now need to integrate the new regular route system. They can do so by calling transit, speaking to a representative at a station or using the MyBus app.

“Our goal is to provide the best possible commuting options for our students in Red Deer, and we will continue to work with the school boards to determine where school services need adjusting based on district plans,” said Penny.

Also starting Monday, mandatory masks will be required on all transit buses in Red Deer as a result of a bylaw passed by city council on Aug. 17. Penny said while there will be fines for those who do not wear a mask, but the city’s first focus will be on education.

“When people get on without a mask we will try to remind them that they should. But, if they continue not to wear a mask, there could be a penalty and a ticket.”

As a result of mandatory masks on transit, buses will no longer have every other seat blocked off to maintain physical distancing.

“Because of the masks, we are going to put the seats back in,” said Penny.

“Now we will be able to go back to the regular service of how many people can get on the bus.”

All buses will have free masks available.

For information on the new transit system, routes and scheduling, visit www.redder.ca/cityinmotion or call the Transit department at 403-342-8225.