Calgary Transit expansion may hinge on developer deals: aldermen
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Two Calgary aldermen are hoping to put the wheels in motion on future developer partnerships that could see bus service offered in new, outlying communities.
To date, three communities — Sage Hill, SkyView Ranch and McKenzie Towne — have used such agreements to service commuters during peak hours. Each sees a developer fork over funds to cover operating costs for service until such time as the community meets a suitable population to sustain a city-funded route.
Alds. Gord Lowe and Diane Colley-Urquhart will bring forward a notice of motion Monday exploring options such as establishing a fund specifically for such agreements.
“Typically, it’s young families who move out there — they rely on transit to get to work,” said Lowe, who has long lamented council doing away with certain transit revenue-generating practices, such as the $3 park-and-ride fee at LRT lots.
Jeremy Barretto, co-founder of civic action group TransitCamp, said while developer partnerships are a creative method to improve service, he believes council is sending mixed messages to transit planners.
“On the one hand, they’re saying we want you to offer citywide service . . . at the same time they want transit to recover 55 per cent of their operating costs through the fare box,” he said. “You can’t do that in a city like Calgary, it’s near impossible without offering different levels of service.”
Ald. Jim Stevenson said he supports the partnership in his ward between transit and Walton Development and Management in SkyView Ranch, but added it does little for off-peak travelers.
“While they (residents) are certainly appreciative, it’s not ideal,” he said.
- During last year’s city budgeting process, council moved to establish a three-year moratorium to expanding Calgary Transit service to new communities.
- As an example, Walton Development and Management pays around $ $260,000 annually to cover transit service to SkyView Ranch.