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An alternative transit service could complement regular bus service so more Edmontonians can get to where they need to go conveniently and safely.

ETS is continuing to explore alternative transit (first kilometre/last kilometre) options as a possible new layer of service in our integrated transit network. It could complement the regular bus network and LRT service.

In some neighbourhoods, an alternative transit service could be an accessible on-demand vehicle. For many of these communities, it could be a better fit because of the design of neighbourhood roads, ease of access in and out of the community, and current levels of transit use. It can also be a way to introduce public transit to newer communities until the neighbourhood is built out and can support regular bus service. An alternative transit service could be a cost-effective way of providing public transit in a way that meets the needs of the community it serves.

Communities being considered for an alternative transit service are being considered in two groups. If City Council approves and funds an alternative transit service, this decision would determine which communities will receive service.

Communities Reviewed for Alternative Transit

Group One Communities

Communities in group one currently have regularly scheduled bus service.

  • Aspen Gardens
  • Avonmore
  • Breckenridge Greens
  • Brookside
  • Cameron Heights
  • Cavanagh
  • Cloverdale
  • Falconer Heights
  • Gainer Industrial
  • Girard Industrial
  • Grandview Heights
  • Henderson Estates
  • Kenilworth
  • King Edward Park
  • Lansdowne
  • Montrose
  • Northeast Industrial
  • Potter Greens
  • Rio Terrace
  • Southeast Industrial
  • Wedgewood Heights
  • Westridge

Group Two Communities

Communities in group two are newer neighbourhoods that do not have regularly scheduled bus service.

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

On-demand Alternative Transit

If approved by City Council, an alternative transit service in Edmonton could be provided by an accessible on-demand vehicle. This option was selected based on several factors, including feedback from participants in our public engagement workshops. They told us what they expect from the service and ETS determined an on-demand vehicle could be the best way to address their concerns:

  • Safe - participants prefer ETS-trained drivers
  • Fast - participants do not want to wait a long time for pick-up/drop-off
  • Affordable - participants do not want to pay more than regular ETS fares
  • Accessible - participants want a say in where pick up locations are situated

ETS is doing a detailed cost analysis of delivering an alternative transit service in-house versus partnering with the private sector. A report is due back to the City Council’s Urban Planning Committee on February 25, 2020. The committee will decide whether to recommend one of these options go to City Council for approval and funding. If the service is funded, ETS intends to conduct a two-year pilot project to evaluate its success.

The City of Calgary and Town of Cochrane are also using a similar on-demand alternative transit approach in their communities.

How On-demand Alternative Transit Would Work

A flexible, accessible on-demand alternative transit service would allow riders to request a pick-up or drop-off from either a designated stop in the neighbourhood or the designated transit hub. They would make this request through a smartphone app, online or by telephone. A vehicle with a trained driver would carry residents between pick-up points in the neighbourhood and the transit hub as requested. ETS would require vehicles to be accessible for individuals with mobility challenges and families with strollers.

Providing Feedback

The public engagement period for the proposed alternative transit service concluded in October 2019. You can read the What We Heard reports on the public engagement page.

Next Steps

ETS will report back to City Council’s Urban Planning Committee in February 2020 with a detailed cost analysis of delivering an accessible on-demand service. Citizens who wish to provide feedback can submit a request to speak to City Council’s Urban Planning Committee before this date.

Summary of February 25, 2020 Council Report

  • ETS has prepared a 3rd report on alternative transit (first kilometre/last kilometre) options and provides more refined details requested by City Council to help make an informed decision on possible operation and funding approaches.

  • Alternative transit could possibly provide another layer of service in Edmonton’s integrated transit network that includes a robust new bus network and an expanding LRT system.

  • This report includes a detailed look into accessible on-demand alternative transit options, provided through either a public or contracted service model. It also identifies opportunities to adjust some regular bus routes to address walking distance challenges in the new bus network, as well as transportation options for people with limited mobility. 
  • Most options outlined in the report would require additional funding and resources. City Council will determine next steps and continue to set the direction for the modernization of Edmonton’s transit service.

Frequently Asked Questions

How is transit funded?

Public transit benefits both the community and individuals, so up to 60 per cent of ETS’ operating costs are covered through municipal taxes and the remainder through fares. In order for ETS to provide the best value to all taxpayers, it regularly evaluates the performance of its routes to match the service to the demand. In some neighbourhoods, an alternative transit service may be a better fit.

Will my neighbourhood continue to have access to public transit?

ETS is seeking direction and funding from City Council to launch an alternative transit service in communities identified for this service.

I live in a newer community. Will I get access to public transit?

If City Council chooses to fund an alternative transit service in newer communities, ETS will consider several factors. They include:

  • Must be further than 600 metres from existing transit service
  • Road network design may not be able to support a 40’ bus
  • There must be a minimum of 200 occupied dwellings.
How does ETS decide where to add, change or reduce service?

The Transit Service Standards set guidelines for when ETS considers making changes to service. The changes are prioritized based on several factors including available resources.

How did you decide which communities would be reviewed for alternative transit service?

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, ETS reviewed the neighbourhood as a possible alternative transit candidate. Implementation of alternative transit is subject to further direction and funding from City Council.

In newer communities, ETS considers several factors. They include being more than 600 metres from existing transit service, their road network design may not be able to support a 40’ bus and they must have at least 200 occupied dwellings.

Are industrial neighbourhoods being reviewed for alternative transit?

ETS reviewed the Gainer and Girard Industrial neighbourhoods as possible candidates for alternative transit. Implementation of an alternative transit solution depends on further direction and funding from City Council.

Who would deliver the service?

No decisions have been made about whether an accessible on-demand service would be delivered by ETS or a partnership with the private sector. ETS will be reporting back to City Council’s Urban Planning Committee in February 2020 with a detailed analysis of delivering the service.

Will the vehicle be accessible?

ETS is committed to using accessible vehicles with space for at least one(1) wheelchair so that individuals with mobility challenges can use the service. It would also have space for families who are using strollers.

Why would ETS deliver the service as a two-year pilot?

Accessible on-demand transit is new to Edmonton, so ETS wants to provide enough time for transit users to use the service, evaluate what works and what ETS could improve.

For More Information

Bus Network Redesign Project

Online Contact 311 Online

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

TTY 780-944-5555

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