Transit commuters from St. Albert will encounter new routes next week when heading to downtown Edmonton.
Changes officially start on Sunday, May 1. But most commuters will notice the difference when they head to work on Monday.
“We’re offering more express (buses) and more coverage,” said Will Steblyk, manager of planning and customer service for St. Albert Transit. “For some commuters going downtown it will mean an adjustment of which route they take, but we’re hoping that over time the express routes that are offered will prove to be something that our ridership comes to like.”
Riders of Route 209, which terminates at Government Centre, will have to find a new bus. The route is being discontinued this summer. Route 208 will run to and from Government Centre.
Route 202 trips will end at the newish Kingsway LRT Station and the Royal Alexandra and Glenrose hospitals instead of going all the way downtown. Morning and evening service has been added to this route.
Route 207 is an express version of Route 201, with two evening peak rides starting at Edmonton city hall.
Route 208 is getting additional trips added to the morning and evening peak times to replace Route 209.
Finally, afternoon express trips have been added to Route 211, with service from Edmonton city hall.
Steblyk said it’s hoped the extra express service will be something customers like.
There are two main reasons for the change.
The changes are in part to recognize the addition of the Metro Line LRT, Steblyk said. It’s a component St. Albert Transit users could use as part of their commute, he said.
But the changes aren’t just because of the LRT.
“These changes were made in response to a number of issues that were relayed to us by our ridership,” Steblyk said. For instance, trying to reduce commuter travel time so it’s more competitive with private vehicle travel time.
Another example is all day service to the hospitals, or having all express buses stop at both Village Transit Station and St. Albert Centre Exchange, with the exception of Route 205.
Steblyk said the routes will be monitored over the summer so they can be set for September.