Grande Prairie transit see overhaul of services

·3 min read

New and redesigned transit routes as well as schedules are on track for Grande Prairie starting August 6.

The City of Grande Prairie says the new routes will “improve service (and) enhance connectivity.”

“This is a significant change for everyone using transit,” said Steve Harvard, city transit manager.

“It will be very impactful to all of our riders, whether it's a different route number or a different time that your bus will be coming to your stop.”

“What we're looking at is not just where people have gone but where we feel the demand has moved and is moving in the future and introducing services to areas that don't have current service or brand new subdivisions.”

Some areas will be changed from having a fixed route to a new on-demand service.

The new on-demand service will now bring transit to areas in the city that were previously unserved, explains Harvard.

Transit riders can now request a transit ride to their area by calling transit or using an app on their phone.

The bus then will take the rider from their neighbourhood to the closest transit hub, and from there, they can catch their next bus; when they wish to return to their neighbourhood, they will request an on-demand bus once again.

The on-demand service allows transit to reach areas they previously couldn’t.

“Ordinarily, it wouldn't be fiscally responsible for us to put services in a new subdivision because there's just not enough volume of people in that area in terms of making it viable; however, on-demand allows us to.”

He also noted that on-demand would give insight into an area that may benefit from fixed routes in the future.

The on-demand service will be available in Creekside, Signature Falls, Countryside North, Countryside South, O’Brien Lake, Kensington, Crystal Landing, Richmond Industrial Park South, Northridge, Northgate, Trader Ridge, Crystal Ridge and Trumpeter Village.

A new service route is also being added along 100 St.

“Previously, we've never had service going along 100 St., and there's been a lot of demand for that, a lot of requests for it, so we've implemented it within this transit redesign,” said Harvard.

Transit will now also have additional stops at the new hospital and a new shopper shuttle which will run every 30 minutes.

During peak hours, busses should come every 30 minutes as well, says Harvard.

All routes will meet at the Towne Centre Mall.

Harvard noted ridership in the city is operating at about 65 per cent of what ridership was before the pandemic.

He says in talking to colleagues in other cities, they see the same decline.

“Speaking to people in the transit industry, they feel that it's going to take two to three years to get back to pre-pandemic levels of ridership.”

Although with rising fuel prices, he said more people might begin to opt for transit.

City transit workers will be handing information pieces to transit riders two weeks before the changes on Aug. 6, and the day will have staff at transit hubs to assist people.

“We realize that they're going to need as much help as we can give them, and we intend to provide that help,” he said.

Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting