Changes will be coming to city transit next Saturday (Nov. 27) as the city looks to improve connectivity and schedule reliability.
The changes are coming after customer feedback and system data, the city says in a news release.
The entire schedule has been revised, and will see waits of 30 minutes extend to 40 per trip on all routes.
“This includes a five-minute recovery on each trip to assist in keeping the system on time during variable situations such as construction and winter weather conditions,” said the city.
The updates include the introduction of Route 9 in Countryside south, which will see the removal of the on-demand zone.
The on-demand service will be added to the Riverstone area, and minor adjustments to Route 6, which will now have a fixed route from Crystal Ridge to Prairie Mall.
There will be adjustments to which buses switch routes to match travel patterns better.
The riders guide has also seen upgrades with the addition of major street names and landmarks.
Alison Steele, a regular city transit user, spoke to city council in October about her concerns with the on-demand routes in Countryside South.
Steele described having the two systems - on-demand and fixed routes - as difficult since the on-demand buses arrive at different times due to having to go ‘off course’ to pick up other riders on the way to a hub spot.
She said waiting for her connecting bus can be as long as 49 minutes.
The initial changes to the transit system came into effect on Aug. 6 with hopes of improving service and enhancing connectivity.
Grande Prairie Mayor Jackie Clayton said at the Oct. 3 council meeting that council heard other concerns of the changes made.
“I encourage people to continue communicating their concerns with this service,” said Clayton.
“We will continue to improve it and make it as efficient and as effective as possible.”
Another notable change comes in the riders guide.
As Steele outlined to council on Oct. 3, a lack of street names and landmarks on the guide’s map made its use challenging.
Steele also addressed the need for two separate apps: One for the on-demand service where users can book a bus, and another for fixed routes which tells users where fixed route buses currently are if they are running late.
Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News