Bus routes set for major changes
Full-day service coming to North Ridge and Lacombe Park Estates
By: By Nicole Starker
| Posted: Saturday, Sep 01, 2012 06:00 am
All-day bus service to North Ridge and Lacombe Park Estates begins Sunday, part of a package of transit changes taking effect that day.
St. Albert Transit follows standards set by city council that determine service levels for new neighbourhoods like North Ridge.
“We’ve got a standard that we expect for the entire community, and as you expand and grow you have to maintain that standard,” says Mayor Nolan Crouse. “You can’t have one standard in one part of the city, and another standard in another part.”
Dawn Fedorvich, co-ordinator of customer service for St. Albert Transit says, “at 60 per cent of the neighbourhood being completed then we would have peak-hour service, and then as it becomes more and more completed we would enter into full-level service.”
She says that the North Ridge neighbourhood has grown to the point where it’s almost fully complete, so the A6 route peak-hour service is being extended to full-day and Saturday service.
As the city continues to grow, so too will the bus routes.
“Eventually Erin Ridge North will have to be served in a different way, because we’re going to expect a lot of population to continue to go in there in the next year or two,” says the mayor.
The current A6 route servicing North Ridge has a ridership of 213 passengers per day, which is three times the minimum standard.
The A6 line will extend to the west part of Lacombe Drive, providing brand new service to Lacombe Park Estates.
Fedorvich says they have received several requests for service on Lacombe Drive over the past few years.
“With the budget increase that we’ve had for the A6, it allows us to add that extra crescent on and provide service there,” says Fedorvich. “And they’ll be getting the full-day service, they won’t be starting just with peak-hour service.”
Other transit changes include shorter A7 and A8 routes. These lines will no longer travel west of St. Albert Trail, an area the A6 route will pick up. Fedorvich says the change will provide a more direct route to the Transit Centre for Oakmont and Erin Ridge commuters.
The A14 route will travel both directions along Erin Ridge Drive and Erin Ridge Road to provide greater service to seniors living in the area. Fedorvich says the changes will allow for more frequent access to the hospital and shopping districts.
The bus stop at East Side Mario’s will become inactive, but commuters can continue to access that area through stops at Sturgeon Hospital or Summit Centre.
The council-approved budget for the changes is $62,800 for 2012. No new buses are required, just increased service hours. These are the first modifications to local routes in five years.
Crouse says that St. Albert offers public transit services similar to those in Edmonton and Sherwood Park, and is also similarly subsidized.
“It’s 60-per-cent subsidized by the taxpayer, which is similar to Edmonton,” he says. “And Strathcona is closer to 70-per-cent subsidized by the taxpayer.”
Fedorvich says that over the past few years ridership for city transit has been increasing at a rate of two to three per cent annually. Last year St. Albert transit had 1,267,000 commuters.
New transit maps and schedules can be found at www.ridestat.ca.