We heard you: new bus routes

The countdown is on for the launch of the proposed new Edmonton Transit Service (ETS)  routes in late summer 2020. 

It’ll be a big deal, changing all 100+ bus routes overnight. Of course, the planning for the Bus Network Redesign has been going since 2017 at ETS, at City Hall and in the communities where Edmontonians have shared their vision for a vibrant public transit service.

That’s our goal: to improve how transit customers get to work, school and play.

Connecting with the community

During two phases of public engagement last year, ETS heard from more than 2,700 Edmontonians. People shared what they liked and what they would change about the draft route changes. They liked that the new network will have more frequent and efficient service. They told us the network made sense and provided access to major destinations. Some people had concerns about walking distance to transit stops, wait times for transfers and dealing with winter challenges. Their feedback is summarized in a What We Did and Heard Highlights report.

Bryan Whited, ETS Transit Planner, did a lot of listening and pencil sharpening..

“We want to make the best system for those who use it, so it was critical that we get good feedback from a wide range of users,” said Whited.

“Our first draft was meant as a starting point so that we could have a useful conversation with the public. For example, I wasn’t sure what connections Castle Down area residents actually wanted. I had a lot of good talks about what parts of our initial design they liked, why they didn’t like the rest and what might work better.”

The end result is a very different network that will work better for more people, said Whited.

Alternative transit option 

In addition to redesigning the bus network, ETS is looking into an alternative transit option for neighbourhoods that have walking distances of greater than 600 metres to a transit pick-up spot. This option would help connect these customers to regular transit service. ETS is going out to approximately two dozen communities this year to gather feedback on proposed alternative transit options, such as on-demand van, ride hailing or taxi service.

I had a lot of good talks about what parts of my initial [bus network] design they liked, why they didn’t like the rest and what might work better.

City Council

The proposed routes still need to be approved by City Council. This could happen in November when several reports about transit transformation will be presented. Bus Network Redesign and the alternative transit option are interconnected—customers would transfer between both types of service—so it makes sense to present them together to City Council. This will help Edmontonians and Councillors understand how customers’ journeys will work from the moment they walk out their front doors to the moment they arrive at  their destinations.

Big picture 

The Bus Network Redesign and alternative transit options are pieces of a bigger transformation for transit service in Edmonton. Transit plays an important role in Edmonton’s Vision for 2050, where we work together to create a community to connect people to what matters to them most.

Thanks for reading, thanks for riding.

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