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Saturday, January 12, 2008

24-7 transit for edmonton?

In case anyone missed it, Kerry Diotte had an interesting column on the idea of 24-hour transit in Edmonton.

Coun. Karen Leibovici, who asked administrators to prepare one of the two reports, is cautiously supportive of extended service.

"We're becoming more and more of a 24-7 city," said Leibovici. "We need to start looking at it," she said. "But the biggest problem is cost. Perhaps we don't have to run all night or even until 3:30 a.m.

"Maybe we can do a pilot project on Whyte Avenue or extend service for one extra hour."

Yes, there are many options.

Maybe we could afford it if we cut little-used routes and keyed on busier ones - or stopped using tax money to fund new routes to distant suburbs.

Do we need smaller buses on some routes? Or could we have fewer stops so buses get to destinations faster, thus encouraging more people to use the system?

Those options too, would help pay for extended hours.
I think there are some pretty valid points in exploring the idea of 24-hour routes for Edmonton Transit (or potentially an hourly or half-hourly LRT run after 1am). Though I believe there tends to be too much focus on the Whyte Avenue bar scene when talking about 24-hour transit service, I do think that it could be an interesting place to conduct a pilot project.

I've even heard of an idea that would have buses running down Whyte Avenue after closing time delivering bar patrons to destinations east and west of Whyte Avenue to designated taxi pick up areas (perhaps the Bonnie Doon Mall parking lot to the east and the Jubilee Auditorium or Lister Hall Parking lots to the west). Though there would be a number of issues to work out (bus driver safety and "bus cleanliness" being two), it would successfully cut down the conjestion on Whyte Avenue before and after closing time.

As Edmonton grows, these types of public transit questions are only going to become more critical to making Edmonton a smarter and more efficient city.


Anonymous said...

I really like the idea of 24/7 transit and opposed late night service cuts to Vancouver transit back when I lived there. It plays a big role in boosting ridership even in other hours, makes it more possible to give up having a car entirely and it will play a role is reducing drunk driving, too.

I'd oppose the idea of the buses to taxi stands for two reasons: 1) if you're going to have to pay for a taxi, you're going to want to ride in the relative comfort of a taxi the whole way. I can't imagine people wanting to wait for a bus on Whyte, then cram into a crowded bus, and then transfer to a taxi, especially when it could very likely cost just as much as getting into a taxi from in front of the bar. Secondly, I really don't want that traffic in Boonie Doon and I suspect most people here don't.

Drew Adamick said...

Prince George, BC, has just implemented a trial late-night service on the route from Downtown to UNBC that runs until 3:00AM. The idea being that students from UNBC (and along the 15th Ave corridor) can have means to "get back up the hill" (as we say in PG). Even though this is only one route, those who live within walking distance (a few kms) can use it with little fuss; as well it also could help those who live further away from downtown get a cab easier (getting a cab in downtown PG after 12:00AM is impossible).

The service has only been in place since January, but from what I've heard, it has been utilized quite a fair bit (this is without major advertising as well).

Something for Edmonton to consider- if Prince George can try it, so can you!

Anonymous said...

I hate the idea of late night transit being trialed on Whyte Ave. What are the odds of a violent altercation during the trial period which will create a media story & spin that oppose late night service? Very high.

Also, downtown is where late night bus service is needed by actual working folks. Many people do not realize how many 24/7 call centers are running in various downtown office towers, but it is a substanstial number. Often call center jobs do not pay enough for the workers to own and operate their own vehicle, so extending bus service to & from downtown throughout the cold winter nights would be a direct aid to this particular part of our economy.

Late night service? For sure!

Serving drunk asses on Whyte Ave? NO WAY!

Anonymous said...

The Gateway also ran an opinion piece on this topic, and note that Kerry Diotte made a comment at the bottom.

Feynman and Coulter's Love Child said...

Apparently nobody has yet pieced together that the best solution to Whyte Avenue post-bar crowding is to eliminate the notion of "post-bar" in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Servicing Whyte Ave is the worst justification for late night transit; servicing businesses that operate 24/7 is the best.

Downtown call centres need to be serviced, but so do all the warehouses in the west end that now extend almost to Anthony Henday. These places barely get adequate service as it is, there is no recognition that they often operate 24/7.

There would be a land-use benefit as well; most of these places have huge parking lots for employees' vehicles. By providing 24/7 service, we could reduce the need for parking lots, "densify" the land-use, and slow down urban sprawl.