(Contributed photo).

Transit changes, including dial-a-buses, are sought by some Red Deer councillors

Under-used big buses are a concern

The empty city buses seen driving at night along some Red Deer routes have fuelled a council discussion about changes to public transit.

Councillors Lawrence Lee and Vesna Higham suggested it’s time to consider putting smaller buses, instead of big city buses, on less popular routes in off-peak hours.

Noting that some Red Deer transit buses carry about half the Canadian average of 15 passengers an hour, Higham suggested substituting a dial-a-bus — or even a 15-seat van.

Calling buses-on-demand is possible now with a phone app, said Lee, who along with Higham and Coun. Tanya Handley had argued for some significant cost-savings measures for public transit.

But the majority of council did not support reducing bus frequency to one hour on stat holidays, Sundays, or after 6:45 p.m. on weekdays.

Higham said, “We are not talking about shutting down the public transit system,” just limiting the number of buses that are available at certain times.

But Coun. Dianne Wyntjes spoke about relying on a buses when she was younger, and the extra time it took from her daily obligations. Wyntjes didn’t want to make transit customers wait even longer for buses, fearing this might discourage use of public transit.

Coun. Ken Johnston noted single parents, people on disability pensions and other fixed incomes, and newcomers to Canada rely on local buses. “What do they do if they need to get to work by eight o’clock when the bus doesn’t come until 8:30?”

Many council members said they were willing to talk about dial-a-buses and other changes after they reviewed a city report, expected by May, that details bus usage on all the routes. Coun. Buck Buchanan said “We know transit is heavily subsidized,” but he feels council owes it to transit users to have all the information before making decisions.

The debate is expected to continue later this week.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Photos: Red Deer barn dance entertains children, adults Tuesday

Hundreds of Central Albertans started their Westerner Days celebrations early with an… Continue reading

Manslaughter charge laid against Red Deer man more than a year after homicide

A manslaughter charge has been laid against a Red Deer man, more… Continue reading

Woman facing charges after pedestrian critically injured in hit and run

A woman is in custody in connection with an alleged hit and… Continue reading

Friday hail storm came at a bad time for farmers

Amount of damage a hail storm does often depends on how far along crops are

Record 10 homers as AL wins All-Star Game 8-6 in 10 innings

American League 8 National League 6 (1o innings) WASHINGTON — A record… Continue reading

Photos: Red Deer barn dance entertains children, adults Tuesday

Hundreds of Central Albertans started their Westerner Days celebrations early with an… Continue reading

Man suffers critical injuries, Red Deer police arrest woman in pedestrian crash

A man is in hospital with critical injuries and Mounties have arrested… Continue reading

Cull hasn’t been able to solve bunny burden in Alberta mountain town of Canmore

CANMORE, Alta. — Problems persist in an Alberta mountain town overrun with… Continue reading

Canada should help Holocaust denier on trial in Germany: civil liberties group

OTTAWA — A civil liberties group is urging the Canadian government to… Continue reading

Westerner Days: Send us your photos

Your reader photo may just make the pages of the Adovcate.

Adam Henrique signs $29.1M, 5-year extension with Ducks

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Centre Adam Henrique has signed a $29.1 million, five-year… Continue reading

Fashion firms upend design routine to focus on speed, trends

NEW YORK — Prototypes? Passe. Fashion company Betabrand saw that knitwear was… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month