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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

Service Allocation

What is a service reallocation?

Each year, ETS moves some service from under-used routes/times to better serve high demand routes/times. Typically, this is about 10,000 hours out of about two-million hours that ETS operates or about 0.5%. The changes take place in September.

This year, ETS is moving around 50,000 hours in order help buses run on time and address overcrowding by adding more buses to the high-demand routes/times. By improving services on higher-use corridors and routes, ETS expects to attract more riders.

What is the criteria for service reallocation?

Each year ETS conducts a System Performance Review using ridership data collected over the previous year. The guidelines for this review are established by City Transit Service Standards. The Standards set the following minimum ridership levels: 

  • Weekday peak periods: 30 passenger boardings per hour
  • Weekday peak periods (Industrial routes): 20 passenger boardings per hour
  • Weekday offpeak periods: 15 passenger boardings per hour
  • Saturday/Sunday: 15 passenger boardings per hour
  • Community Bus Routes (seniors): 10 passenger boardings per hour

For the 2016 service reallocation plan, ETS targeted services that fall below 15 passenger boardings per hour. After identifying underperforming service that did not meet the target, a more detailed analysis was undertaken, taking into account several other factors such as:

  • Impacts of cancellations on the schedules of other routes
  • Established service versus newly implemented service (new services need time to develop a ridership base)
  • Community Bus routes serve seniors and provide service at a lower cost than DATS

The results of this analysis identified 50,000 annual service hours for reallocation, or about two per cent of total ETS service. The routes selected for the 2016 reallocation plan have an average of only 8 passenger boardings per hour.

Which neighbourhoods/routes will be affected by service reallocation?

About half of the routes throughout the ETS network will experience service additions or reductions as part of the service reallocation project. Major changes are summarized below:

Major Service Reductions

Route Neighbourhood or Location Time Period Description of Impact Alternative Service
31  Leger
Hodgeson
Ogilvie Ridge
Carter Crest
Saturday Reduce frequency from 30 minutes to 60 minutes Route 34 and remaining Route 31 service
55 Pleasantview All  Remove service from Pleasantview. Revise route to operate on 113A Street - 61 Avenue - 113 Street  Route 9
55 Malmo
Lendrum
Pleasantview
Weekday Midday
Saturday
Sunday
Service Cancelled Routes 9, 33, 34 and LRT
86 Cloverdale
Strathern
Kenilworth
All Cancel Route in all time periods (Weekday Early Evening, Saturday Evening, Sunday Midday) Routes 4, 94 and 322
89 Tamarack
Wild Rose
Weekday Early Evening
Saturday
Sunday
Reduce frequency from 30 minutes to 60 minutes Route 69 and remaining Route 89 service
96 Millgate
Bonnie Doon 
Weekday Significant reduction in trips Routes 8, 15
118 Rio Terrace 
Quesnell Heights
PM Peak Service Cancelled Routes 4 and 310
124 Mistatim Industrial
Weekday Peaks Reduced service span, frequency reduced to 30 min None
126 NW Industrial Saturday Evening Service Cancelled Route 3
169 Chamberry
Elsinore
Canossa
Weekday Late Evening
Saturday Morning / Evening
Sunday Morning / Evening
Service Cancelled None
169 Chamberry
Elsinore
Canossa
Weekday Early Evening
Saturday Midday
Sunday Midday
Route 169 cancelled but will be replaced by additional trips on Route 163 / 164 Routes 163 and 164
194 Belle Rive
Schonsee
North Mayliewan
Weekday Evening
Sunday
Service Cancelled Routes 190 and 191
 302 Alberta Hospital
Henwood
Evergreen Mobile Park
Weekday Late Evening Service Cancelled None
 306  Maple Ridge Mobile Park
Southeast Industrial
Weekday Midday Reduce frequency from 45 minutes to 60 minutes Remaining service on Route 306
306  Maple Ridge Mobile Park
Southeast Industrial
Weekday Evening
Saturday
Sunday
Reduce frequency from 45 minutes to 60 minutes Split service on Route 306 to Bonnie Doon and Meadows
307  South East Edmonton Seniors Association (9350 82 St)
Good Samaritan Society Seniors' Clinic (8861 75 St)
GEF Ottewell Lodge (6207 92 Ave)
GEF Grace Garden Court (6303 104 Ave)
GEF St. Nicholas (5619 98 Ave)
Good Samaritan Place (8425 83 St)
Sunday Service Cancelled Route 1 and 94
308 Riverdale Saturday Service Cancelled Route 1 
316 Big Lake  Weekday Peaks  Service reduced from every 30 minutes to every 60 minutes None
318  Abbottsfield All Cancel Route in all time periods (Weekday Late Evening, Saturday Evening, Sunday Evening) Routes 8 and 10
327 Belgravia
McKernan
Queen Alexandra
Saturday
Sunday
Service Cancelled Routes 4, 9, 50, 52, 106, 313 and LRT
380 Quarry Ridge All Cancel Route in all time periods (Weekday Peaks) None
381 Hollick Kenyon Weekday Midday
Weekday Early Evening
Saturday
Sunday
Service Cancelled Routes 181 and 193

Major Service Additions

Route Neighbourhood or Location Time Period Description of Impact
3 West Edmonton Weekday Midday Increase frequency to every 15 minutes from Jasper Place to Downtown
4 West Edmonton Sunday Afternoon Increase frequency to every 7/8 minutes from WEM to South Campus
33 West Edmonton Sunday Midday Increase frequency to every 15 minutes from Southgate to WEM
77 Ellerslie, Southeast Weekday Peaks Add earlier and later trips
125 Norwood Boulevard Weekday Midday Extend short turn trips from Kingsway to Stadium
133 West Edmonton
University
Weekday Peaks  Extend service span and increase frequency to every 15 minutes
137 Northwest Edmonton  Weekday Evening  Add later trips
139 The Grange  Weekday Peaks  Add earlier and later trips
315 Secord  Weekday Midday  Add early and later trips, increase frequency to every 15 minutes
 322 Bonnie Doon Weekday Midday  Increase frequency to every 30 minutes
331 Chappelle
Hayes Ridge
Paisley
Grayden Hill 
Weekday Peaks  Add earlier and later trips, increase frequency to every 10 minutes in morning peak and every 15 minutes in afternoon peak
Are these changes permanent?

ETS makes service changes throughout the year based on ridership demands and changing travel patterns. These service changes are likely to stay until there is a significant change in ridership patterns.

Any route can have service added or reduced depending on what is needed and if it meets the standards outlined by council and city policy. 

Are there any exceptions to the rules about underused service?

Yes. Where possible, ETS does its best to work with vulnerable customers including those with mobility impairments. We also consider the availability of alternate service prior to cancelling service on a route.

Hot Topics

Is ETS providing service to the new Greyhound terminal?

ETS is working with Greyhound to operate a shuttle service or provide a pick up and drop off point at the nearby Kingsway Transit Centre.

When will additional service be provided on Route 331 to Chappelle?

Service will be upgraded to a full size bus effective February 13. ETS continues to monitor ridership and demand for off-peak service. There is currently no funding for new off-peak service in the 2016-2018 Transit Operating Budget. Additional service to Chappelle will be reconsidered in future operating budgets.

When will ETS be providing service to Edgemont?

There is currently no funding for service to Edgemont in the 2016-2018 Transit Operating Budget for new service to new areas.  However, there is a slight possibility that service could be provided if the developer helps with initial funding of the service through a developer funded service agreement.

When will service hours be extended on Route 77?

Extra trips have been recently been added to address overloads during peak hours. Off peak service is currently unfunded and would need to go through the city council budget approval process.

Construction

What is happening at West Edmonton Mall transit centre?

The transit centre building at WEM will be replaced by a larger and brighter building that will improve safety, functionality, and customer amenities. Construction work requires the closure of all eight stops on the island. This will not affect schedules, but some bus stops have moved onto 87 Avenue. Please check displays at the transit centre to see if your bus stop has changed. 

Construction started mid-May and is expected to continue into next year.  Additional information is available.

Buses

Why does my bus turn it's engine off while waiting at transit centers during the summer but not during the winter?

ETS participates in a "Limited Idling Program" between May 1 - Sept 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.

Can you expand the hours of service or frequency on my route?

Service provided by ETS is based on the ridership demand and available funding. Those routes exceeding high ridership standards as per City Transit Service Standards are considered for additional service subject to funding availability. High ridership standards include trips with more than 50 boarding per hour (60 boarding per hour during peak periods), consecutive trips carrying more than 50 passengers, or individual trips carrying more than 55 passengers.

Why isn't there any service for my neighbourhood?

No additional funding was allocated for service to new neighbourhoods in the 2016 - 2018 Operating Budget. As such, it is unlikely that any new service will be implemented until 2019 or later.

In order for bus service to be warranted to a new area, the following conditions must be met:

  • A minimum of 500 residents in the new area
  • A sufficient collector roadway network to allow for the bus to travel through the neighbourhood
  • Sufficient funding availability in the ETS Operating Budget
How can I (or my child) get a School Special bus route?

A School Special is considered when the regular bus service becomes overloaded by a large number of students traveling to nearby schools. ETS does not have the resources to provide a school special to every school.  Many students make transfers, even when traveling to their designated school.

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

The level of service provided by Edmonton Transit takes into consideration the number of passengers traveling on a bus route or in a corridor.  Travel demand is generally lower during the summer and on holidays.  As result, the same level of service is not required during all days of the year.  Reducing levels of service when fewer people are traveling allows for more service to be available during the busiest travel time periods.  Several seasonal service reductions occur late April and late June when regular classes at post-secondary institutions and schools are no longer in session.  These service reductions are restored in September when regular classes are back in session.

My neighbourhood only has peak service. When will there be midday, evening, or weekend service?

No additional funding was allocated for service to new neighbourhoods in the 2016 - 2018 Operating Budget. As such, it is unlikely that any new offpeak service will be implemented until 2019 or later.

In order for offpeak bus service to be warranted to a new or growing area, the following conditions must be met:

  • A minimum of 1500 residents in the new area
  • Existing peak service must meet minimum ridership standards (30 passenger boardings per hour)
  • Sufficient funding availability in the ETS Operating Budget
My bus is so full that many people have to stand. Can we have a bigger bus operate or increase the frequency?

Buses are designed to serve a large number of passengers, especially during peak hours.  As a result, Edmonton Transit is not able to guarantee every passenger a seat for the entire duration of their trip.  Edmonton Transit designs service for an average of 50 passengers per bus over the peak hour.   A regular bus with 50 passengers will have about 15 standing passengers.  Edmonton Transit has a limited number of articulated buses.  These buses are already allocated to serve Routes 8, 9 and 100 during high travel demand periods.

I have seen several future bus stops in my neighbourhood. When will transit service begin here?

A future stop is a placeholder for future transit service. It does not guarantee service, but is an indication that future service is intended to operate along that road. 

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.

How close am I allowed to park my car near a bus stop in a residential area?

Ahead of the stop, a vehicle can be parked pretty much flush with the stop, as long as the vehicle doesn't extend beyond the beginning of the bus stop.

Behind the stop varies depending on how the stop is placed and how a bus approaches it. The bus must be able to pull into the stop with both front and rear doors close enough to the curb to allow for safe exit from the bus. This area behind the bus stop is known as a Transit Zone. Transit zone lengths extend from the right angle curb line tangent of intersecting roadway.

They are as follows:

  • 22 m when a bus enters a bus stop straight on.
  • 30 m when a bus enters a bus stop after a right turn.
  • 35 m when a bus enters a bus stop after a left turn.
  • 45 m when a bus enters a bus stop in the middle of the block. This allows the bus to safely clear vehicles parked behind the transit zone portion of the bus stop and to be able to stop with front and back bus doors flush against the curb.

When the bus stop is placed 35 meters after an intersection, the entire length of roadway between the intersection and the bus stop sign is the bus stop/transit zone.

Bus stops can also be extended by double arrow bus stop signage. This is typically seen in areas such as downtown, where many buses must access the same stop. This extension is normally ended with a "Bus Stop Limit sign, which identifies the end of the stop.

If you would like to know about a specific stop, contact ETS with the bus stop number you would like to know more about.

Why do buses “bunch up” on busy roads?

The reason buses “bunch up" has to do with traffic and the nature of buses stopping to board and disembark passengers. If the first bus is stopping at every stop to board passengers, the next bus, scheduled 5 minutes later, will likely be stopping less for passengers and will catch up to the first bus. This creates the situation where several buses will arrive at one time, then there is a gap before the next bus comes. "Bunching" of buses is the result of providing frequent service down a busy transit corridor in a major city.

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

Operators will straddle both lanes on the Highlevel 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. 

Can you schedule more of a split between buses that travel a common corridor?

Edmonton Transit operates on a time-transfer network where bus schedules are designed for routes to meet at major transfer locations (like transit centres) which allow for passengers to make their connection to other buses to complete their trip. Several routes may share a common corridor on a portion of the route, but often split to serve different neighbourhoods.  Buses are scheduled to meet at either 15, 30 or 60 minute intervals depending on the ridership level of the particular route. This system often results in buses travelling down major corridors in close proximity to each other as they are heading to a particular transfer point at the same time. 

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

Route times are determined based on connections at the transit centre to serve the maximum number of customers and the time it takes a bus to travel the route.  If a route is shifted, even by five minutes, the result will be missed connections throughout the day.

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
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. There may be delays.

If you are continuously experiencing difficulties with a particular bus, 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.

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.

How often are the buses cleaned?

Since buses could 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 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 and the bus return to regular routing and back on its line trace, the announcements will also begin to play, as the bus is once again able to match up the location it is currently at with the announcement that should play at that particular location.

LRT

Why is the LRT so hot or so 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, etc. 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.

Transit Centers/LRT Stations, Bus Shelters and Benches, Escalators & Elevators

Can you install a shelter at my bus stop?

You can request a shelter at your bus stop and it will be reviewed for future consideration.

Depending on the site conditions, adjacent property owners’ consent, and usage at the bus stop, it may be possible to install a shelter in the same calendar year, or the location may be placed on a waiting list until higher priority locations have received shelters.  

Why are the escalators down?

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.

Why is the transit centre too hot/too 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.

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