Red Deer’s transit users worry they could face longer waits for night buses in future.
But local recreation centre users are pleased facility hours were mostly maintained for 2018, during City of Red Deer budget talks.
Lacey Sabourin is a Red Deer mother who regularly uses the transit system to get to shopping centres or doctor’s appointments. But Sabourin believes she would call more cabs or car pool if she had a long wait for transit service. “I wouldn’t want to wait an hour.”
In last week’s budget meetings, Red Deer city council discussed running buses less often in the evenings as a cost-saving, to prevent so many nearly empty buses from driving around at night.
Although Coun. Lawrence Lee suggested making routes more efficient, bringing on dial-a-buses, or reducing the number of bus runs in non-peak hours, the council held off making a change until a transit department report can be reviewed. It’s expected in May.
It’s already hard to have to take the bus in the cold, said Francis Lapis, a fast-food-outlet worker.
“I’d rather things stay the same,” said Lapis, who already knows the frustration of working to 10 p.m., just missing the 10:15 p.m. bus, and having to wait until 11:15 p.m. to catch the next one because there isn’t a 10:45 p.m. bus. “It’s an inconvenience. It (cuts) into your time.”
If dial-a-buses are brought in, Lapis would hope users could call ahead and not have to wait an hour or more for the service.
Meanwhile, many city recreation users are relieved that drop-in fees were frozen, and facility hours were mostly maintained in the 2018 operating budget.
The only change is that the G.H. Dawe Centre and Collicutt Centre will be open for one hour less on low-use stat holidays — from noon to 5 p.m. instead of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Samantha Harder, who often brings her kids to the Collicutt Centre said, “It’s better than shutting down one of the facilities” during a stat, which was also discussed by council and nixed.
Young mother Heidi Roy said she depends on the Collicutt Centre and its child-minding service staying open. Since her three children are very active and all under the age of six, “we’re here all the time.”
Retired oilfield supply worker Gene Connett also expressed satisfaction that regular hours were mostly maintained on the walking track that he uses four times a week.