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ETS is proposing an alternative transit option for neighbourhoods that might not have service in the proposed new bus network.

Edmonton’s proposed new bus network identifies communities that have a low number of riders, have low density and are geographically difficult to service due to the road network design that are better suited for alternative transit options rather than a fixed route.

Alternative Transit for Communities Losing Service in the Proposed Bus Network Redesign

Follow-up surveys for the June workshops have closed. Community input gathered during these workshops and in the survey will be used by ETS to help adapt and adjust alternative transit options. It will be included in ETS' final report in November 2019 and used by City Council to help them in their decision-making about alternative transit.

Communities proposed to receive alternative transit service include:

  • Avonmore, Cloverdale, Kenilworth and King Edward Park, as well as Gainer and Girard Industrial
  • Brookside, Falconer Heights and Henderson Estates
  • Aspen Gardens, Grandview Heights and Lansdowne
  • Breckenridge Greens, Cameron Heights, Potter Greens, Rio Terrace, Wedgewood Heights and Westridge
  • Lauderdale and Montrose

Alternative Transit for Newer Communities

If you were unable to attend recent public engagement workshops, a survey will be available here in late September.

ETS is exploring alternative transit service options in communities that do not have service today and your input is needed. Your feedback will be used to help City Council in its decision-making process about future transit options. If you live or work in any of the communities listed below, please join us to learn more about alternative transit and help us refine possible approaches for future service.

  • Cavanagh
  • Edgemont
  • Graydon Hill
  • Hawks Ridge
  • Hays Ridge
  • Keswick
  • Starling
  • Trumpeter

Options Being Considered

On-demand van Ride-hailing app
Pros
  • Can ensure City standards for driver training, licensing and accessible vehicles
  • Request service via app, online or phone
  • Can reserve a seat at various times of the day
  • Multiple pick up locations
Cons
  • Seats are first come, first served
  • Pick up wait can be up to 45 minutes
  • Only transit centre drop off during weekday peak hours
Pros
  • Convenient to use
  • Widely available private sector apps 
  • High off-peak availability for recreational travel
Cons
  • Few accessible vehicles
  • Municipal and province set driver standards
  • Drivers may not be readily available in the area
  • Only transit centre drop off during weekday peak hours
Taxi Limited bus service
Pros
  • People are familiar with how to book a taxi
  • Established taxi companies exist in Edmonton
  • ETS uses taxis now to provide rides as part of Disabled Adult Transit Service
Cons
  • Accessible vehicles and driver standards limited by existing taxi laws
  • Only transit centre drop off during weekday peak hours
Pros
  • Fixed schedule
  • Professionally-trained ETS drivers
  • Customers do not have to book their trip
Cons
  • Operates in peak hours only, Monday to Friday
  • Buses go to nearest ETS transit centre
  • May be cancelled after 18 months if minimum ridership standards are not met 

Background

For neighbourhoods that are losing service or will have excessive walking distances, ETS is committed to finding alternative transit solutions for them. In January 2019, City Council requested that ETS explore providing this type of service to neighbourhoods that do not currently have regular transit. The Council request includes reviewing community routes to better serve areas of the city with many seniors' housing complexes.

Next Steps

A report containing implementation details and operating costs for an alternative transit solution will go to City Council in November 2019. If approved, the solution could start to be phased in alongside the Bus Network Redesign in summer 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are transit resources allocated?

Public transit benefits both the community and individuals, so transit costs are covered 60% through municipal taxes and 40% through customer fares.

In order for ETS to provide best value to all taxpayers, it regularly evaluates the performance of its routes. If a route has a low number of passengers, buses will be moved to another location where the travel demand is higher. In the absence of regular transit service, ETS is evaluating alternative transit options for affected communities.

Why will my community not have regular bus service in the future?

Demand for transit varies across the city, which is why City Council requested that ETS review the bus network to provide better service without increasing the number of buses, operators and service hours. For some communities, this means service will be removed for several reasons.

  • Transit use is low--minimum threshold for riders is not met
  • There is low population density--not enough potential customers
  • Walking distances to the nearest transit stop are greater than 600 metres
  • There are geographic constraints to providing service--buses must backtrack
     
I live in a newer community that doesn’t currently have transit service. Will I get an alternative transit option?

To be considered for alternative transit, a newer community should have enough occupied dwellings that it would be efficient to provide the service. As new communities build out and funds become available, ETS will evaluate the feasibility of providing service based on the potential numbers of riders and other factors. 

How reliable is on-demand transit?

Unlike "dial-a-bus" programs of the past, which relied on dispatchers directing drivers where to go, on-demand service uses technology with algorithms that can direct a driver in real time. This would cut down the amount of time riders may need to wait for pick up or be on the road. In most cases, the nearest drop off location would be a maximum of 15 minutes away upon leaving the neighbourhood.

When would ETS consider removing fixed bus or alternative transit service?

According to the City of Edmonton's Transit Service Standards policy, a bus route must have a minimum number of riders getting on and off the bus during peak and off-peak periods. The ridership threshold for an alternative transit service would be lower than it is for regular scheduled service.

How did you determine eligible communities for an alternative transit pilot project?

Communities that are losing transit service in the new bus network will be eligible for a pilot project if more than 20 per cent of their population must walk more than 600 metres to the nearest transit stop and there are more than 20 existing customers beyond the 600 metre walk to regular service. The pilot projects are pending a decision by City Council in November 2019.

ETS is also exploring alternative transit opportunities in newer communities that do not have transit service today, have a minimum of 200 occupied dwellings (one condominium or apartment building counts as one dwelling) and a connected road network where it is safe to operate alternative transit. They include Cavanagh, Edgemont, Graydon Hill, Hawks Ridge, Hays Ridge, Keswick, Starling and Trumpeter. Public engagement workshop dates are listed above.

I am a senior who relies on community routes and there won’t be a route in the new network. Will I get to participate in the pilot project?

In neighbourhoods where community routes are being eliminated due to a very low number of customers, ETS is looking at extending the pilot project during off-peak hours.

I work in an industrial area that is losing transit service in the new network. Will I get to use this service?

ETS is looking at extending this service to industrial areas that do not have transit service and will engage major employers in these areas to better understand their employees’ transit needs.

For More Information

Bus Network Redesign Project

Telephone

In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

TTY 780-944-5555
Email 311@edmonton.ca

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