Transit system improving with the times

A critical mass that will allow Red Deer Transit to run more buses more often is coming, but has not arrived yet, says its manager.

A critical mass that will allow Red Deer Transit to run more buses more often is coming, but has not arrived yet, says its manager.

Like those who work with him, George Penny waxes proud about the city’s transit system, which has grown in immense leaps from the four basic routes that ran six days a week in the late 1970s.

Now serving a city of roughly 100,000 people with arms reaching into Springbrook, Gasoline Alley, Blackfalds and Lacombe, Red Deer Transit runs 64 buses on more than a dozen routes, including special services to Olymel and a regional system funded by neighbouring municipalities.

The system continues to expand and upgrade, and it’s set to upgrade again, says Penny.

Recent changes have included the introduction of electronic fare boxes and, on some buses, on-board libraries. There are only four of those right now, but more are coming, says Penny.

Also coming in the next couple of years is a real-time bus tracking system, now in the early stages of development.

Steven Parkin, transit operations superintendent, said on Friday that the system is still in its infancy and he doesn’t know yet what it will look like. He does know that it will be Internet-based and that it will offer two distinct advantages: One to riders and one to the system itself.

Once the system is operational, riders will be able to open a web site from their smart phones or computers and see exactly where their bus is and when it will arrive at their stop. The system will include information about bus delays, such as traffic collisions or breakdowns, meaning riders can stay indoors, warm and dry, on those days when the weather turns nasty.

For the transit system, real-time tracking offers a more complete picture of the number of people using the buses, where they get on and where they get off.

That will allow the city to fine tune its service, beefing it up where necessary and making other adjustments as well, says Parkin.

Fares in Red Deer compare favourably with those in Alberta’s two largest cities.

In Edmonton, monthly passes run at $91.50 for adults, $83.50 for seniors and $69 for students.

Calgary passes run at $99 for adults and $65 for students.

Red Deer fares are $70 for adults (increasing by $3 in June) and $59 for youths and students.

The BOLT regional fare to Lacombe is currently set at $90 for adults and $25 for seniors and students.

Details on fares, including single-ride tickets, day passes and other packages, are available online at or by calling 403-342-8225.

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake man charged with first-degree murder of his dad

A 28-year-old Sylvan Lake man has been charged with the first-degree murder… Continue reading

Red Deer man going to trial on manslaughter

Gabriel Agotic accused of involvement in May 2017 death of Mathiang Chol

Nominees sought for business awards

Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce annual awards program

‘Somewhere to go:’ Sex trafficking victim calls for more safe houses

REGINA — For years, Beatrice Wallace blamed herself. Not only did she… Continue reading

China renews demand on Canada for Huawei executive’s release

BEIJING — China on Wednesday renewed a demand that Canada release a… Continue reading

Maskwacis youth found dead on reserve

The remains of 16 year old Houston Omeasoo found

Duncan announces $30 million to promote safety and inclusiveness in sport

TORONTO — The federal government is investing $30 million over five years… Continue reading

Raptors president Ujiri addresses rare off-court issues during NBA title run

TORONTO — Even a championship can come with hiccups. Toronto Raptors president… Continue reading

Mouse that roared: Disney characters win local union shakeup

ORLANDO, Fla. — The mouse that roared was heard. Months after workers… Continue reading

Soulpepper’s original musical ‘Rose’ among big winners at Dora theatre awards

TORONTO — Soulpepper’s first original musical “Rose” was among the big winners… Continue reading

‘Must work together:’ Alberta legislature boss chides both sides in earplug spat

Legislature boss chides both sides in earplug spat EDMONTON — Alberta’s legislature… Continue reading

‘He’s my son: Accused mother cries at trial over boy who died of meningitis

LETHBRIDGE — The mother of a toddler who died of bacterial meningitis… Continue reading

Licence revoked for doc who used own sperm to artificially inseminate patients

TORONTO — An Ottawa fertility doctor who used his own sperm as… Continue reading

Most Read