Transit champion disappointed in Red Deer council decision

Safety is biggest concern says former petitioner

A woman who started a petition and successfully saw Red Deer city council agree to keep one particular evening bus run is disappointed that run will now be discontinued.

“I’m not impressed,” Cherise Piercy said Wednesday. She believes the 10:45 p.m. Red Deer Transit run needs to continue due to safety concerns at night.

Council cancelled the run — effective come September — during budget deliberations because of low ridership. The 10 routes offered by Transit were averaging about five passengers each. Transit users will still be able to catch the 10:15 p.m., or the final 11:15 p.m., buses. Riders will have to wait longer for their bus at the end of the day.

Unless there’s more security provided, Piercy said the 10:45 p.m. run should not have been cancelled. As well, it isn’t just safety concerns regarding Sorenson Station terminal, it’s all over Red Deer she said. People all along the route will have to wait longer at night for their bus, she said.

Piercy said she does not ride the bus in the evening very much anymore because of her concerns. Several years ago after the run was first cancelled in 2012, she started a petition to get it reinstated, gathering a total of nearly 500 signatures. Last year, city council decided to fund the run again, but this year, in order to save $235,000, decided to end it.

Piercy, who doesn’t drive and who uses Red Deer Transit with her daughter to get around the city, said the 2019 Winter Games in Red Deer is another reason to have maintained the schedule. Evenings downtown will be busy and people will want to get around then even more, she argues.

Transit Manager George Penny said earlier that the city will continue to monitor ridership and if it changes they can review the decision.

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