The buses will keep rolling for a Lacombe-to-Red Deer regional transit system.
City of Lacombe council voted 4-3 on Monday not to pull out of the service, which also links to Blackfalds.
Mayor Grant Creasey and other councillors had questioned the cost of the service, which Lacombe subsidizes by about $200,000 a year. Flat ridership numbers show the service has not caught on as hoped, argue its critics.
As part of its support, council accepted a Burman University proposal to boost ridership through a student pass and by tailoring routes and schedules to better serve students.
Burman University says its proposal will not only increase ridership but reduce the amount of subsidy required from municipalities.
Blackfalds Mayor Richard Poole is a strong supporter of the service and was pleased to hear of Lacombe’s decision.
“Excellent. That’s good news.”
Poole believes there is much potential for a regional bus system, which he sees as an economic driver.
A Central Alberta Economic Partnership study of the area showed that transit was a major consideration for many looking to move to a community, said Poole.
“It’s something that will get a company into a community.”
Lack of a transit link was a reason one company recently opted not to set up in nearby Lacombe County.
“So there’s potential in a number of areas.”
Transit is not a money-maker in any community and a regional system faces even more challenges, he said.
“What we’re looking at is to decrease the amount of deficit and to increase the ridership substantially.
“Having Burman on board is one of the big steps we can move forward on to do that.”