City embarking on $3.5M transit system overhaul

Red Deer buses are about to drive into the 21st century.

Red Deer buses are about to drive into the 21st century.

Starting next year, the city will embark on an estimated $3.5-million project to transform Red Deer’s public transportation system.

When completed, the city’s 57 conventional buses will be outfitted with electronic signs and annunciators that will allow both visual and audio bus stop and street location announcements.

At Sorensen Station and some bus shelters, electronic signs will offer updated information on when the next bus will arrive.

At other bus stops, passengers will be able to phone an information number with the bus stop number and get real-time information on the next bus arrival.

Transit Manager George Penny said it’s a fairly large undertaking that is expected to be in place by the end of 2017.

“It’s what every transit agency really likes,” said Penny. “It’s the ability to collect data so you can really make decisions correctly.”

Buses will be outfitted with global positioning systems (GPS), automated passenger counting, security features and other transit technology components.

Action buses will be outfitted with mobile data terminals to streamline dispatching in real time on the dashboards, allowing more same-day bookings.

“Now when there are cancellations it is very difficult to know where the bus is and what’s going on,” said Penny. “Now we will know in real-time. So if somebody wants to book a trip on the same day, we’ll be able to do that more efficiently.”

City council approved $1.57 million in the 2015 capital budget after previously approving $1.9 million for the project. The city has applied to fund the project through GreenTrip provincial funding. If approved, the provincial funds will cover two-thirds of the cost.

Penny said Red Deer has grown in recent years, bringing new routes to the expanded areas of the city. He said it is no longer efficient to collect information by hand.

The new technology will allow the city to collect data and monitor and track buses on the road. So in the case of an accident on a route, the home base can contact the drivers with alternate route information. Penny said the new system will allow the city to plan routes more efficiently.

“We really want to be able to analyze how many people get on and off the bus at different routes so maybe we can change some of the routes,” said Penny.

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Fire investigators comb through industrial fire wreckage looking for answers

Industrial building in north Red Deer was completely gutted in Wednesday morning fire

Time for a central Albertan in cabinet, says chamber of commerce

Central Alberta had no cabinet ministers in last government

Trump Russia probe finally delivers some answers

WASHINGTON — After nearly two years of waiting, America is getting some… Continue reading

Trans Mountain Pipeline deadline extended

OTTAWA — The federal government is delaying a decision on the Trans… Continue reading

WATCH video of Innisfail resident creating the world’s biggest caricature

Watch as Innisfail resident Dean Foster creates the world’s biggest caricature of… Continue reading

Lower price discounts to boost Q1 oil profits but uncertainty hangs over sector

CALGARY — Lower discounts on western Canadian oil prices have swollen producer… Continue reading

Local Sports: Hard training pays off for Red Deer runner Jared Howse

Jared Howse understands success doesn’t come easily. The 17-year-old has put together… Continue reading

CRA’s automatic benefit registrations give retirees reason to file on time

TORONTO — This is the time of year when procrastinators begin to… Continue reading

Study: Genetic test predicts middle-aged obesity risk

NEW YORK — Can a genetic test identify newborns at risk of… Continue reading

Downtown Red Deer Co-op Plaza Food store closing

Central Alberta Co-op is closing its downtown Red Deer Plaza food store… Continue reading

Earth, meet Polo: Ralph Lauren unveils plastic bottle shirt

NEW YORK — Earth, meet Polo. Polo Ralph Lauren on Thursday launched… Continue reading

Statistics Canada reports retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in February

OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says retail sales rose 0.8 per cent in… Continue reading

Inflation rises 1.9% on higher prices for fresh vegetables, mortgage costs

OTTAWA — Canada’s annual inflation was up last month as price pressures… Continue reading

Most Read