Officials agree to regional transit

Blackfalds and Lacombe councils have agreed to move forward on the road to a new regional transit service.

Red Deer City Transit bus driver Bob Relkov waits for passengers at the transit terminal

Blackfalds and Lacombe councils have agreed to move forward on the road to a new regional transit service.

Both councils met this week to discuss proceeding with the talks with the City of Red Deer. The three municipalities have been in serious negotiations about a bus service connecting the three municipalities for more than a year.

Last week, Red Deer city council agreed to redirect its GreenTrip grant to purchase two buses for the service. The two buses come with a $900,000 total price tag. Red Deer will use $600,000 from its grant while Blackfalds and Lacombe will split the remaining cost ($150,000 each).

Blackfalds Mayor Melodie Stol said now the three municipalities will hammer out a final agreement and work out the fine details, including rates, time schedules, bus stops and bus routes.

Stol said regional transit has actually been discussed for about six years and this regional model will be a win for the residents in the three communities and for the municipalities.

While the details of the operating cost-share agreement between Lacombe and Blackfalds will need to be finalized, the current projection is $360,000 annually.

Red Deer will retain ownership of the buses and maintain the buses, staffing and storage.

The buses are expected to take about nine months to arrive. The target date for service on the road is September 2014.

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