The Transit Strategy, brought forward in June 2017, provided strong recommendations for the future of the Edmonton Transit Service. Among the highlights were plans to make buses more responsive to demand by reallocating “bus hours” from low frequency routes to high frequency routes, thus serving more people while still maintaining communities’ transit access.
Looking ahead to the next Council, as part of the Transit Review I commit to championing a rethinking of how our bus routes are currently serving southwest Edmontonians. More specifically, I wonder about rather than scaling back the number 50 and 74 bus routes, we reroute them to become express routes that take the pressure off of the LRT which frequently sees max capacity during the year at peak hours. As we have essentially reached the upper limit of LRT frequency during the peak hours, alternatives are needed. In addition to that plan, I also want to introduce some buses that go directly from southwest neighbourhoods to the University of Alberta, a transit hotspot that serves tens of thousands of undergraduate students not to mention higher level students, faculty, and other staff.
These policies are designed with reducing LRT pressure in mind. The LRT has been highly successful in making transit accessible and effective for many in our great city and in southwest Edmonton in particular. Now, we must find ways to keep up our momentum while making sure to not strain existing resources. The 50 bus which services several neighbourhoods in Ward 10 as well as travelling between the South Campus and Southgate LRT station can act as an express route to deal with capacity issues at South Campus.
Creating express bus routes purely for commuting between the University and southwest neighbourhoods will certainly alleviate the traffic at LRT stations. Ensuring that these bus routes offer competitive times and convenience for riders is key though as an express route that takes 30 minutes versus a bus+LRT ride that takes 15 will not fare well. Intelligent planning on this front will ensure that everyone is served better.
We are fortunate to have a high quality LRT line that serves our communities well, and in order to ensure that it keeps that high level of quality it is important that we diversify the transit options of Edmontonians, better serving all.