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Regional bus service may not be up and running by fall

It looks like the new rural transit program may not be rolling out this fall as planned. County Reeve Leanne Beaupre said previously that the first phase of service to Grande Prairie from Sexsmith and Clairmont would be up and running by this fall. That doesn’t seem to be the case now.

Manager of Transit Services for the City Steve Harvard says they still need to get agreements signed and routes approved by each council before they can move forward with first part the project.

“The next key phase is getting all those agreements signed and then once that’s done then we can look at setting an implementation date for both phases.”

The goal of the two-year pilot project paid for by the Alberta government, is to link people in rural areas to places where they can receive services they may not have access to. The second phase of the project would see buses heading to Wembley, Beaverlodge and Hythe. Harvard says he is looking at having that phase in place by early 2019.

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“We’ve already had initial discussions with each of the staff and administration for those communities… Within the next month or by the end of 2018 we’re hoping to have gone to each of those councils and gotten their approval for the routing.”

The county received funding for the project back in June of this year. When both routes do start up, buses will make eight return trips a day to Sexsmith and Clairmont and two return trips three days a week to phase two locations. They will take passengers to the Prairie Mall, Queen Elizabeth II Hospital and the Towne Centre Mall.

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