Changes are coming for some transit riders in Grande Prairie. City Council members have approved moving to smaller buses on evening and weekend trips on certain routes and adjusting some schedules to meet ridership demands.
Transit Manager Steve Harvard says he wanted to make the changes after seeing dipping rider numbers in certain spots.
“There are a number of routes and a number of times and areas that it just doesn’t make sense to have larger buses… Rather than having a 40-foot bus running around for two [or] three hours with one or two people on it you have a smaller bus doing that.”
Along with smaller buses, some routes with decreased ridership like route 7 which travels through places like Countryside South and O’Brien Lake via Westpoint and Pinnacle will be moved to a school schedule offering one morning and one afternoon trip a day.
Looking at rider numbers through electronic fare boxes, Harvard says they can see how many people are riding, when they get on and when they get off in order to know what areas have too much service and which could use some more.
“It really is right-sizing the service. Right now there are areas and times and days that we have too much service on the road. We want to fix what we know is not optimal and once that is done then look at how we can make some changes to make the service that much better.”
Harvard is still looking into which specific routes will be altered and says more changes could be coming as data continues to roll in.
When that is announced, notices will be posted along affected routes, in major transit hubs and on buses. Harvard is hoping to put the new changes into effect by August 2019.