Grande Prairie residents will soon see two new heated bus shelters and four new benches. Manager of Transit Services Steve Harvard, says the city will have four heated shelters once the projects are complete at Eastlink Centre, Northwestern Polytechnic, and Towne Centre Mall.
Towne Centre Mall is in the midst of being transformed into an even bigger transit hub, according to Harvard.
“Currently four out of our six routes transfer at the Towne Centre Mall. In the new redesign, all of the routes will transfer there. Having larger shelters will assist in accommodating more people and having them being heated will benefit people greatly during the winter months.”
“When customers are using transit they are always looking for convenience and comfort and we acknowledge that we can do better in that regard,” Harvard adds. “With the new redesign of the transit system, it represents a new beginning for transit in the city with shelters and new routes.”
The shelters vary in cost. Harvard estimates that previously purchased heated shelters cost about $25,000 to $30,000 each. However, Harvard believes it may cost up to $100,000 for the two.
“That would include inflation. The price of these larger ticket items has gone up about 20 to 25 per cent because of metal costs and also installation costs.”
The hope is that these new heated shelters and benches will encourage people to use public transit in the city, but Harvard says there are other subjects on riders’ minds as well.
“It is one of the items that people look at when they’re, but personally I don’t think it is the first thing that they look at when considering taking public transit in the city. People want to know if the service is reliable and if they can get from point a to point b with minimal delays and interruptions.”
The plan is to replace the two current shelters with two large heated shelters and replace the two existing benches with four new benches at the transit hub. Work is ongoing and the city did not provide an estimate of when all the projects will be completed. The city has just under $200,000 dollars in reserves to pay for the new shelters and benches.