(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.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

City of Red Deer gets ball rolling on annexing more land

”It’s important we look ahead,” says Mayor Veer

Walmart melding online and in-store shopping

South Red Deer Walmart recently underwent six months of renovations

Updated: Nature trail unveiled at RDC

Trail unveiling and tree planting honours Nova Chemicals $2 million donation

Rural municipalities seek more funding to address cannabis legalization

Not enough supports in Municipal Cannabis Transition Program

Video: Windows smashed at three Red Deer businesses

Red Deer RCMP arrest man after vandalism spree

Automated cars could kill wide range of jobs, federal documents say

OTTAWA — More than one million jobs could be lost to the… Continue reading

McGill research finds significant driving impairment 5 hours after cannabis use

MONTREAL — Driving under the influence of cannabis remains dangerous even five… Continue reading

Family: Remembering the important things

It seems so much of life is work and routine and then… Continue reading

Canada gets into Women’s World Cup with 7-0 win over Panama

FRISCO, Texas — Christine Sinclair isn’t concerned about chasing records. She’s set… Continue reading

Baldwin urges ‘overthrow’ of Trump government via voting

MANCHESTER, N.H. — Actor Alec Baldwin followed up his latest parody portrayal… Continue reading

Prince Harry and Meghan expecting their 1st child in spring

CANBERRA, Australia — Prince Harry and his wife, the Duchess of Sussex,… Continue reading

Sears files for Chapter 11 amid plunging sales, massive debt

NEW YORK — Sears filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday, buckling… Continue reading

Doctors to debate medical pot as more patients expected to ask for prescriptions

VANCOUVER — Doctors with opposing views on whether medical marijuana should be… Continue reading

Most Read