Edmonton metro region to consider combining transit systems

City councils in Edmonton, St. Albert, Leduc and 10 other municipalities in the metropolitan area will consider combining resources to create a single transit system to serve the region.

One system would make travel by transit more efficient, suggests a report released Wednesday by the Regional Transit Services Commission.

"There are systemic barriers to travel from one community to another,"  said St. Albert councillor Wes Brodhead, who sits on the commission.

"It simply makes it difficult for anybody who would choose to travel the entire region to use public transit."

A single system would save municipalities around $3.4 million per year by the time it's fully aligned in 2026, the report said.

Some municipalities don't offer transit at all, while others have services that overlap each other, said Edmonton councillor and RTSC vice-chair Michael Walters.

"Having one integrated, effective, well-run, safe system for everybody is really the best outcome," he said. 

The metro region needs to provide convenient transit if it wants to compete internationally and attract young, educated workers, Walters added. 

"If we're really going to operate together as an effective region, competing for that talent with other areas in the world, we need a really effective public transit system, not a hodgepodge one where we have nine systems, with buses passing each other on the same roads day after day."

Councils for each of the municipalities have until the end of March to vote on whether or not they want to participate in the formal request.

The 13 municipalities included in the regional transit service feasibility report are:

  • City of Beaumont
  • Town of Devon
  • City of Edmonton
  • City of Fort Saskatchewan
  • City of Leduc
  • Leduc County
  • Town of Morinville
  • Parkland County
  • City of Spruce Grove
  • City of St. Albert
  • Town of Stony Plain
  • Strathcona County
  • Sturgeon County