The City of Red Deer is getting ready to launch new, realigned transit routes.
A new transit network, developed based on public feedback, is set to launch Aug. 23 and will offer more direct service and improved connections throughout the city.
The route realignment features a new Gaetz Avenue rapid bus, which will run the full length of the Gaetz Avenue corridor, as well as new core routes connecting the highest ridership stops and destinations.
New transit hubs at Bower Place (along Bennett Street and Gaetz Avenue) and Kingston Drive (west of Gaetz Avenue) will provide connection points in the north and south end, reducing the need for riders to transfer downtown, says the city.
The new network also offers neighbourhood routes that provide more coverage within residential areas and commuter routes into Riverside and Edgar industrial areas, with continued Action Bus service to meet different passenger needs.
“We are excited to roll out the new routes across the city, and are confident riders will find it more direct and efficient,” said transit manager George Penny.
“We have been working with the community to redefine transit service for our city, and together, I believe we have created a new system which will better serve and connect the community, while utilizing our existing resources and budget.”
The new routes will launch at the current service level, with hours of service similar to what has been offered throughout COVID-19.
As the impacts of the pandemic lessen and demand for transit increases, the city promises additional frequency and longer hours of service.
“We reduced service hours after a significant drop in ridership during COVID-19, but this reduction will allow us to introduce the changes on a smaller, progressive scale,” said Penny.
“The new service structure enables us to provide higher levels of service on key corridors within the same reduced budget. Implementing now also allows us to introduce changes on the smaller scale. We will collect feedback from both riders and operators, and will have an opportunity to make adjustments and fine-tune operations before we resume full service.”
Red Deer Transit will continue to offer service to local school boards. School routes remain the same, but the city will continue working with both school boards to see if they need adjusting based on school district plans for September.