News / Edmonton

City's transit rollbacks worsening some commutes, riders say

The city says they will re-add hours in September when bus service is generally more busy

Jared Pachan says his bus commute has become more difficult ever since the city rolled back hours on July 2.

Jeremy Simes / Metro

Jared Pachan says his bus commute has become more difficult ever since the city rolled back hours on July 2.

Some transit riders are calling on the city to reinstate higher levels of bus service to their routes, after they say recent rollbacks have worsened their commutes.

“I feel like city council is treating transit users like a cost-effectiveness study and not a public service as it should be,” said rider Jared Pachan, who connects to the 103 from his house in Ormsby to the West Edmonton transit hub.

It’s been two weeks since the city reduced service on 70 routes they say are underperforming, arguing they have to provide value for taxpayer dollars.

Though the city has said the reductions are expected to only affect less than one per cent of riders, and that 23 routes will return to normal this fall, the changes just aren’t jiving with some users.

The 103 bus, Pachan's route, no longer runs on weekends or weekday evenings.

This means people are without their regular bus stop, and are getting off at ones that are much further from home, he said.

“Anyone living past Donsale (a community in West Edmonton) has to walk through a ravine to get home,” he said. “This doesn’t affect me, but it matters.”

He added he’s also waiting longer.

“I don’t look forward to the literally daily routine of watching the bus I need drive off while the bus I’m on pulls into the terminal under these new schedules,” he said.

Michelle Carlson, who takes the 112, which also runs less frequently now, has penned a letter to the city in hopes they reverse the changes.

“It’s gone from coming every 15 minutes to every 30 minutes,” she said, noting the buses are now packed more than ever. “I just don’t see their rationale if it’s still busy, so I’m hoping they can explain it to me because people in southeast Edmonton need to get to work downtown.”

But Bill Sabey, director of planning and scheduling with Edmonton transit, said in an email that it’s too soon to provide details on how the changes earlier this month are affecting the majority of riders, but added the changes were designed to increase the number of users per bus.

“In general, the system continues to run smoothly,” Sabey said.

As for the service hours that will be re-added this fall, transit customers will see these routes run normally again: The 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 12, 15, 17, 35, 37, 39, 41, 45, 47, 72, 100, 111, 112, 119, 125, 140 and 306.

Though it’s not part of the current cuts, the city is working on a new transit strategy in which they hope will bolster ridership. They expect to overhaul all routes by Sept. 2018, and will provide more details next year.

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