Our service includes conventional bus, light rail transit (LRT), disabled adult transit (DATS), as well as associated operations activities such as planning bus routes and schedules, operation of buses and LRT equipment, marketing and charter services.

Frequently Asked Questions

Requests For New or Additional Bus Service

When can we get/change transit service in my area?

ETS will evaluate the performance of the new network after its first year of operation, and the On Demand Transit service after 2 years. Adjustments to the network may then be considered depending on the usage of the new routes, available funding, and the City’s Transit Service Standards (Policy C539).

While we understand that there is interest in extending transit service to new areas, we will not be considering service changes until this evaluation period is completed in late 2022 for the new routes, and in 2023 when the On Demand Transit Service pilot project is finished.

How can I (or my child) get a School Special bus route?

School boards are responsible for providing student transportation, however, students are welcome to use ETS. School Specials are intended to alleviate overloads on regular service caused by a large number of students travelling between a neighbourhood and a school. All customers are welcome to use both School Special and regular routes. ETS does not provide School Specials to every school and students may need to make transfers to get to their designated school. At this time, ETS does not have available funding to increase the number of school specials.

The Edmonton Public School Board has guidelines for acceptable trip duration and number of transfers for students; however, these are the guidelines of the School Board for planning designated school boundaries, and not for ETS. It is used by the Board as one consideration when looking at providing yellow bus versus ETS service.  If service from your residence does not meet the Board’s policy, you may contact the School Board to see if other options can be arranged.

My bus is always full. Can you increase the frequency or have a bigger bus operate?

Regular sized ETS buses are designed to serve an average of 50 customers during peak hours.  A regular bus with 50 passengers will have about 15 standing passengers. 

ETS has a limited number of articulated buses, which are the largest in our fleet. These buses are fully allocated to Routes 15 and 100 to accommodate the high number of customers on these express routes. 

 

Bus Route Scheduling

My bus is always late/early. What can I do?

ETS works hard to ensure buses and the LRT run according to schedule. Please keep in mind, similar to other forms of transportation, buses and LRT are affected by traffic issues, adverse weather conditions and/or construction which may cause delays.

If you are continuously experiencing difficulties with a particular bus route, please use the ETS Commendations or Concerns online form and report the specific bus route number, time and location. The issue will be forwarded to the appropriate ETS department to look into.

Can you shift my route schedule by 5 minutes so I can make a transfer to a different route?

When scheduling routes, ETS works to make connections that serve the largest number of customers. ETS is not able to shift route schedules in order to accommodate individual requests. While we recognize five minutes may not seem like much, it has a domino effect for that bus throughout the day and may cause missed connections for other customers. 

Why do some bus routes run less often during the summer and on holidays?

ETS regularly monitors the number of customers riding all routes.  During the spring and summer, the number of customers is lower for many reasons including schools being out of session.  As such, service is temporarily reduced so we have available funding to match higher demand during other times of the year.  These seasonal reductions are reinstated in September.

Why does each trip planner show different trip plans for the same trip?

Each trip planner uses different algorithms to come up with the recommended trip plans. The trip plans in each one are valid, so choose the one that best meets your needs.

Transit Facilities, Shelters, Stops, Fleet and Maintenance

Can I park at a bus stop that is closed in the new network?
  • Check the signage around a closed bus stop before parking there. Bus stops located in 'no parking' or 'no stopping' areas will be signed accordingly.
  • Bus stops located in E-Park zones will be converted to paid parking.
  • Bus stops in unrestricted parking areas are “parkable”. They may be reviewed on an as-needed basis.
Will you remove the bus stop pad/sidewalk on my property?
  • No, the City will not be removing bus stop pads from closed bus stops at this time
  • Bus stop pads will remain at least a year while the new bus routes are evaluated
Can you move the new bus stop in front of my property?
  • New bus stops will not be moved. All bus stops were placed based on the neighbourhood’s development plan and the transit service standards policy. All new bus stops were reviewed for safety.
  • If a customer feels a bus stop is unsafe, they can call 311 to file a report and it will be reviewed.
Can you leave benches at closed bus stops?
  • No. All fixtures at closed bus stops are being removed, including benches, shelters and garbage cans.
  • Fixtures at closed bus stops will be moved to open bus stops over the next 2-3 years.
  • ETS is not currently taking requests for bus stop fixtures at this time.
Can you install a shelter at my bus stop?

We will not be putting shelters at new locations for at least a year after the bus network launch. This will allow us time to remove existing shelters from closed or low use locations, as well as determine which are the higher use stops that need one. More than 450 shelters will be moved, so this will take 2-3 years to complete.

Can you add, remove, or relocate a specific bus stop?

Bus stop placement is based on site conditions, cost, stop spacing and walking distance guidelines. Adding a bus stop may improve accessibility for customers, but reduces the travel speed of buses and increases maintenance cost. 

Can you add a concrete pad or a connector walkway to my bus stop?

ETS endeavours to improve accessibility by providing a hard surface and connector walk at all bus stops. Existing stops that lack pedestrian infrastructure will be improved as funding becomes available. 

Why do the bus street announcements stop working when the bus is on detour or goes off route?

ETS programs each route into the software system and creates a "line trace" (much like you would see on Google maps). When the bus travels along a route, it follows a 'line trace', which is the path the route takes along its regular stops. Using the line trace, ETS is able to program the bus to properly announce stops at the appropriate locations. However, when the bus goes on a detour or is forced to take a different routing it can no longer follow that particular line trace. As such, announcements are not played during this section of travel.

Once the bus comes back on route after a detour has ended, the announcements will also begin to play, as the bus' location will match up with the proper announcement.

Why are the escalators not working?

The escalators are very heavily used along the transit system. Some LRT stations have approximately 30,000 passengers moving through the station on a typical weekday. During the winter months, snow and ice are tracked through the station and onto the escalators which can lead to additional mechanical maintenance and failure.

ETS works closely with our contractor to repair the escalators and get them back up and running as soon as possible. Similar to other mechanical equipment, escalators and elevators naturally depreciate over time and require regular maintenance and repairs.

For more information, visit Elevator and Escalator Outages/Maintenance for real-time outages and maintenance schedule.

How often are the buses cleaned?

Because buses can be on the road up to 8 hours at a time, the exterior and interior are cleaned daily every time the vehicle returns to the bus garage. This also ensures ETS collects any lost items that are left on Edmonton Transit property and turned in to the Lost and Found office the next working day.

Why is the LRT too hot or cold?

The LRT has two car types. The heating systems on both car types are automatic and not operator adjustable. The older cars have no air conditioning function and can only heat the car or ventilate the interior if it is too warm. The target for these cars is approximately 18 degrees Celsius. The newer cars have fully functioning HVAC systems that can range from full air conditioning to full heat. They are computer controlled and vary depending on inside and outside air temperatures.

The heating system is checked on each inspection and any issues are repaired before the car is returned to service. The interior temperature is also dependent on amount of people entering/exiting the vehicle, outside air temperature, windows opened or closed by customers, how many doors opened on the car at the last station. It has been found that the center of the older cars and the main seating area on the newer cars are the warmest areas to travel.

Why is the transit centre too hot or cold?

The heaters inside transit centres are radiant heaters: this means they are designed to warm any objects in the path of the heat being radiated. All heaters are automatically activated by temperature sensors. The heaters do not come on until the temperature inside the transit centre drops below -5 degrees.

Some station heaters are switched on in groups. As the temperature drops, more and more heaters come on. Stations may also have motion sensors to activate the heaters when people are present. In these circumstances, the heater will start when a person walks into the station. 

ETS works hard to balance public comfort with environmental stewardship. Adding additional heaters depends on funding and resources in the ETS Operating Budget. ETS recommends all patrons dress according to the weather.

Why are bus stops often placed after intersections?

There are a variety of advantages and drawbacks when locating bus stops either before or after an intersection.  Nearside stops (before an intersection) can be beneficial where riders transfer between two bus routes on different roads.  In addition, vehicles behind the bus stopped on the farside of an intersection (after the intersection) may need to change lanes to avoid delays.  

ETS and many other transit agencies generally prefer locating bus stops on the farside of intersections for several reasons, including: 

  • Farside stops ensure that pedestrians cross behind the bus, which prevents the bus from blocking visibility of pedestrians crossing the road
  • Farside stops ensure that buses do not block visibility of intersections traffic controls, such as stop signs and signal heads
  • Farside stops allow buses to clear the intersection before stopping, which minimized delays to right turning vehicles traveling behind the bus
A bus shelter is blocking my sightline. Can you move or remove it?

Bus shelters locations are evaluated based on Section 3.6 of the City’s Complete Streets Design and Construction Standards. Shelters that do not meet our standards will be removed or relocated.

Bus Operations

Why do ETS buses leave an intersection ahead of the rest of traffic at some intersections but not others?

I-lights (also known as bus advance lights) are often used where buses need to make a left turn from a collector road onto a busy arterial road where there would normally be a long delay waiting for a green light or where there is no traffic signal present at all.

I-lights are also used for queue jumps. Intersections can be set up with a special transit phase which allows buses to jump ahead of traffic from an auxiliary lane a few seconds before other traffic receives a green light. Queue jumps are used at locations where bus stops are located outside of travel lanes in right turn bays or other places where buses would otherwise have trouble merging into traffic after making a stop at a bus stop.

Reasons that more I-lights are not used in Edmonton include:

  • The signals are presently very expensive, often costing more than a hundred thousand dollars
  • The signals disrupt or reduce traffic flow for other vehicles and can cause new congestion
  • Decisions on where to strategically place priority signals is done in concert with Transportation Operations Branch to ensure these enhancements are warranted on a case by case basis and are harmonized with the traffic signal network
Why does my bus turn its engine off while waiting at transit centres during the summer but not during the winter?

ETS participates in a "Limited Idling Program" between May 1 - September 30. Drivers turn off the bus engine during daylight hours when the layover period is three minutes or more, the outside air temperature is 10 degrees Celsius or more, and the bus filter is not in a regeneration cycle. Once the temperature lowers, for short layovers, and while the particulate filter is active, ETS continues to run the engines to ensure passenger comfort and promptness.

Why do "Not In Service" buses pass by stops where people are waiting?

Most often, "Not in Service" buses are travelling to a new location to begin service as a new route. ETS has firm start-times for routes in order to meet customer needs. "Not in Service" buses are unable to pick up passengers at every bus stop, because these buses travel across the city with different routes day to day.

When buses cross the High Level Bridge, why do they drive in the middle of both lanes?

Operators will straddle both lanes on the High Level Bridge and the hill on the south side of the bridge for clearance reasons due to the width of the traffic lanes on the bridge. If the bus returns into the lane nearest the curb before reaching the last bend in the road at the top of the hill, the front left corner of the bumper will enter into the left side or center lane of the roadway. This will put the bumper in far enough to make contact with a vehicle that in this lane, if it were beside the bus. To prevent this, operators are trained to maintain both lanes until passing the last bend in the roadway at the top of the hill.

Are bus drivers allowed to leave the bus?

Operators are allowed to make purchase stops and take washroom breaks, provided their absence from the bus does not disrupt the schedule.

What items can I bring on Transit?

E-Cigarettes and Cannabis

E-Cigarettes - Smoking e-cigarettes or 'vaping' is not permitted on ETS Property.

Cannabis - Cannabis cannot be consumed on buses or LRT, nor inside bus shelters, transit centres, LRT stations or platforms. 

Backpacks

Many passengers carry large, heavy backpacks that could injure other passengers. Please use care and courtesy when travelling with such items. Carry backpacks in front of you to minimize chance of hitting other passengers. When seated, hold your backpack on your lap so other passengers can be seated as well.

E-scooters

Starting August 30, 2021, e-scooters will be allowed on the LRT at all times of the day. Please note the meter on the e-scooter may continue to run while riding the LRT. E-scooters are not permitted on buses or bike racks on the front of buses. Non-motorized scooters are allowed on buses and LRT. 

Skiss/Toboggans and Other Large Items

Provided there is room, skis, toboggans and other large bulky items are permitted on buses. Operators have the right to refuse passengers attempting to board with such items on heavily loaded buses. Skis and toboggans must be carried upright and stored out of the way of the aisle. Use care and courtesy to avoid inconveniencing or injuring other passengers.

Rollerblades and Skates

Passengers are not permitted to wear rollerblades or skates on the bus. Carry such items in a safe manner (by the wheels or blades), not slung over your shoulder or attached to a hockey stick. Use care and courtesy to avoid inconveniencing or injuring other passengers.

Personal Listening Devices

Personal listening devices (for example, iPods, MP3 players, and so on) are allowed on the bus at the Operator’s discretion. If your music disturbs the driver or another passenger, you will be asked to turn it down or off.

Food and Drink

Consumption of food and drink is allowed on ETS buses and LRT provided that food and beverages are in containers designed for travel and under the control of the customer. Passengers are permitted to board with such products where there is little probability of a spill; however, passengers may be asked to dispose of the product before boarding if the Operator perceives a safety or cleanliness issue.

Pets

Passengers are permitted to travel on buses and LRT with a pet provided the pet is properly confined in an appropriate container (for example, a cage) and remains confined for the duration of the trip. Use care and courtesy to avoid inconveniencing or injuring other passengers. No fare is required for the animal.

Service Animals/Assistance Dogs

Dogs trained to aid or to guide the visually impaired, hearing impaired, or persons with other disabilities are permitted on buses, provided their animal has been trained by an ADI-accredited organization. No fare is required for the animal. Service animals must be kept out of the aisles and must be under control and with their owner at all times.

Oxygen Tanks

Passengers who require oxygen life support systems and apparatus are permitted to travel on ETS. However, propane tanks and other flammable/explosive materials are not permitted to travel on ETS.

Bicycles

Bicycles and folding bicycles are not allowed inside ETS buses for safety reasons, however, all ETS buses are equipped with bike racks on the front of the bus (except On Demand Transit buses) to accommodate passengers using bikes for part of their commute. Two adult-sized bicycles can fit on a bike rack at one time. Starting August 30, 2021, bicycles and folding bicycles will be allowed on the LRT at all times of the day provided they comply with conditions outlined in Municipal Bylaw 8353.

Note: Bicycles are not allowed in bike racks on ETS buses providing inter-municipal highway trips (Routes 540, 560, 561, 580 and 747). The bike racks were not designed to securely hold a bike at highway speed and there is the potential for a bike to become loose and fall off during the trip.