The Edmonton Transit Strategy and the bus service changes have caused much concern. The Transit Strategy is still on-going, and there will be routes that are added and changed.
I have concerns about these changes; in particular I am concerned about how these changes are affecting seniors and individuals who are physically challenged. While these new routes are still coming, some in these populations are being unduly affected in the interim. This is a concern that I questioned administration about, and that I will continue to be critical about. My goal is to have these concerns addressed and remedied as soon as possible.
Another concern that has come forward is the privatization of the transit service. The City has not had any formal conversations about the implementation of privatization, and Council has voted to keep privatization out of the system. I am confident that any gaps that are left because of the cancelling of certain bus routes can be filled using city infrastructure and systems.
Edmonton Transit Services reviews and reallocates bus service hours five times per year, and this is based on consumer demand and performance measures on specific routes. The adjusting of routes is not a new process. The Transit Strategy, however, is separate from that process. It is meant to provide recommendations on how ETS can balance the future needs of transit users, the long-term City building goals, and present needs. It was developed with feedback from transit staff, ATU 569, stakeholders, and 20,000 engaged Edmontonians. The Strategy proposes a reworked system that puts transit services where and when there is more demand from users, while exploring all options to keep people moving in areas of Edmonton where demand is lower.
The strategy is not complete, and this will be an ongoing process. I am taking concerns from those affected seriously, and will bring their concerns and comments with me to council when discussing the strategy.