Transit Service Review FAQs

1. Will the new route still travel to the University of Alberta?

No, the new route will no longer travel to the University of Alberta. Riders will be required to catch the LRT from downtown initially and then after it opens, at the new NAIT LRT stop. The schedule was designed to ensure riders have time to make a convenient LRT connection. Students with a U-Pass already have access to the full ETS network. UofA employees can ride for free between the Churchill and UofA LRT stations.

Discontinuing the service to the University of Alberta creates a more efficient transit system. Savings from these changes will be reinvested into a subsidized integrated pass and a midday service. This change also makes it easier for the City to increase the number of trips in the future. In addition to a shorter route, buses can now make a second trip so additional buses are not required from ETS (access to more buses is not guaranteed).   

2. Will the new route changes affect the current downtown transit route? Is cutting the service at the NAIT LRT line under consideration?

Service to the downtown core of Edmonton will not be affected. While cutting the service at the NAIT LRT line was considered, at this time, there is no plan to implement this change. A large proportion of the existing ridership travels to either destinations along 101 St or in the City Centre.

3. Will the new route change the current bus schedule?

Minor adjustments in the schedule will be made to provide better on-time performance. Once the midday trip has operated for several months, the schedule may be adjusted to better reflect how riders use the system. One change that will be considered is whether so many early trips are needed and if the schedule can be tweaked to allow for a later departure time from the downtown core (i.e. around 6pm).

4. What is the benefit of the Integrated Pass? How does it work?

The Integrated Pass allows Spruce Grove residents to purchase a subsidized pass for $165 that provides access to Spruce Grove Transit and the full ETS network. This will allow residents to reach new destinations in Edmonton and for those without a U-Pass, to still access the UofA at a reasonable rate. This pass will run on a 1-year pilot basis due to the high subsidy associated with it ($54/month).  Its long-term feasibility will be assessed once a better understanding of its popularity exists. Through this pass the City is recognizing the importance of working with other transit systems in the region to provide more options to residents in a cost-effective way.

5. Is the new student pass only for students with a U-Pass?

The new student pass is available to all students with a U-Pass or students with a valid I.D. card for an approved institution. The approved institution list is still under development however Centre High Campus and Victoria School of the Arts will be included. This pass is available to Spruce Grove residents only. 

6. What efforts is the City making to reduce commute times?

Commuting times for the current route changes will remain similar to those experienced by riders now. Reducing commuting times is challenging due to the high cost of the service and the need to provide riders with enough flexibility in departure times to make the service convenient. A number of service options are considered for September 2015.

7. What happens if I miss the last bus due to LRT delays from the UofA to downtown?

The schedules have been designed to provide enough time for riders to travel from UofA to the LRT. The current schedule was used as a guide for determining departure times to reduce the impact on existing riders. Users will be responsible for their own way home if they miss the last bus. 

8. Who is eligible for the new Student and Integrated Passes? How will you control who is able to buy them?

The new Student and Integrated Pass are available to Spruce Grove residents only. The City's transit system is currently heavily subsidized by Spruce Grove taxpayers with no funding received from other municipalities despite the high level of regional ridership. The student pass and Spruce Grove/ETS Integrated pass are designed to make it easier for students to remain at home, increase ridership, and recognize the impact of the service reduction to the UofA. 

Proof of residency will be required to purchase these passes. The details of this are still being finalized and more information will be available through the web site, the newspaper, and on the bus closer to the implementation date. The City is making an effort to ensure these subsidized passes will be available at a convenient location/time.

9. Do you expect the price of the base pass to increase?

The base pass will remain the same price at $130 for 2014 and 2015. The pass price will increase in the future to account for inflation and increased contract costs. At this time, there is no plan to charge non-Spruce Grove residents more for the base pass.

10. Has the City considered a transit route to south campus?

The City is exploring options for a peak-hour route to West Edmonton Mall and the South Campus LRT station. Past efforts have not been successful due to the high cost and a number of implementation planning/scheduling challenges.  One new option being considered for September 2015, Option C, may provide the ability to implement this route in a cost-effective way. Planning is preliminary and additional public consultation is required as a move to Option C will have an impact on current riders.

11. When will the new changes take effect?

The new changes will take affect September 1, 2014.

12. How will the City address the issue of overcrowding on the buses?

The City is adding a midday trip this fall which will help alleviate crowding on the afternoon peak trips. Options considered for 2015 will see additional trips added. The City is also exploring options for purchasing high occupancy buses however a decision has not been made on this yet.

13. Is there a plan to change the location of the Park and Ride in the future?

The City recognizes the current park and ride location is not the best location for this service. Options to place a long-term park and ride are being considered adjacent to Highway 16 or Highway 16A. The City is preparing a grant application under the Provincial GreenTRIP program to construct this facility. The timeline has not been finalized yet and the City will not know if the funding is secured until 2015.

14. What time a day will the new midday route run?

The final time of the midday route will is still being finalized but it will be leaving downtown Edmonton around 1:30pm. This time is designed to link into the peak afternoon schedule to keep costs down while still providing more flexibility for riders. This bus will run the full route in Edmonton and within Spruce Grove. It will then travel express back downtown to start the afternoon route. Riders will be able to travel from from Spruce Grove to Edmonton on this service however the bus will not stop until the first stop on the return route back to Spruce Grove (i.e. downtown).

15. Does the City plan to expand to local transit routing?

The Transit Service Review was split into two phases. This first phase, focused on improving the commuter service within the existing ETS contract approach. The next phase, starting in 2015, will look at larger operational questions, including the timing and feasibility of a local transit system.