City will have its work cut out for it on the bus redesign
I will strive to work to make Edmonton Transit more appealing and make commuting by bus or LRT part of your routine.
However if the very unscientific poll I conducted over the weekend is any indication, Edmonton Transit has its work cut out for it reversing the trend over the last few years of declining ridership.
Historically, the biggest boost ETS ever got was years ago when the LRT expanded. Drivers flocked to the Century Park Park'n'Ride and hopped on first thing in the morning; that dramatically increased the passenger counts.
Traffic on transit has been declining ever since, and the delays in both the Metro and Valley Lines haven’t helped.
So I asked you via Twitter-poll how the week-old revised bus network would change your travel habits.
Out of 119 votes, 52 percent said they will continue to drive because of the perception that transit is too dangerous.
That sentiment is reflected in a move by the city to increase safety and security measures on the transit system. New joint operational teams involving Edmonton Police and Transit Peace officers were introduced in May.
What the bus network redesign was intended to do
The idea behind reworking the bus system for the first time in a couple of decades was to have main routes increase frequency to get you to your destination more quickly. However, the tradeoff was for you to walk further to get on board.
Only 8 percent agreed with both statements that they’d be more likely to take transit either because their commute would be easier, or they would do it even if their route is changed.
Nearly a third of respondents said they are less likely to take transit because it is now less efficient.
So what to do?
Improvements are needed
“My daughter used to have a 6-minute direct route to school. Now it's close to 30 minutes and she has to change buses across a busy road. She's 13,” wrote one respondent to the poll. “If it wasn’t a pandemic I would be fine for most things but it is a pandemic so I’ll take my bicycle,” said another.
“It totally sucks and messed up the daily schedule for many families who had the close by stops cancelled,” said a third who didn’t like how many stops, like the one near their home disappeared. “My son has to walk 500 m to get to the nearest bus stop and other families have (a) worse situation. It’s (a) really very irresponsible and intimidating decision by the government.”
I’ll work to get improvements made. There’s nothing worse than sitting on a bus, stuck in the same traffic as other private vehicles. Where is the incentive, if your ride isn’t any quicker than being in your own car? ETS buses need priority in traffic. If extra lanes in key congestion areas can’t be easily built, then technology at traffic lights, to give them a head start should be used.
Increased surveillance like additional on-board cameras are also needed, so ETS can say with authority that if you misbehave, you will be caught.
Heritage Valley park'n’ride is still relatively new. Let’s think together on a business plan to help it thrive in south Edmonton.