With four new buses on the way, it’s going to be easier to park the car and use transit to get to and from work.
Ken Wenzel, manager of Public Transportation for the City of Leduc, said the city and Leduc County are working on the next phase of public transportation following the implementation of the C-Line in 2010.
“It was originally designed to carry Edmonton residents into Leduc and Nisku and Leduc residents to work and school in Edmonton.” Originally, there were four trips between Edmonton, Nisku, the Edmonton International Airport and Leduc in the morning and four more in the afternoon.
In 2012, changes were made to the schedule to better reflect the needs of riders, said Wenzel. After three years in service, Wenzel said the transit system needs to be expanded into Leduc’s neighbourhoods.
“We’re still doing the C-Line service and we will be making modifications to the schedule.” The plan, however is to also provide Leduc residents with neighbourhood connections to get them onto the C-Line, to the airport and to the Leduc Business Park.
“It’s been something we’ve needed for a long time,” he said, noting that in 2011, 33,106 used the C-Line. In 2012, 41,603 people took the bus and the number of users increased again in 2013 to 53,827. “It’s just going up and up and up.”
Even though ridership has been increasing, Wenzel said the service was still not meeting the needs of residents because a recent survey showed 77 percent of Leduc residents worked in the Leduc Business Park.
“I think this is a service that’s needed with the price of fuel going up, congestion on the highway and changes to the Nisku parking bylaw. We’re hopefully building something to meet the needs of people so they can leave the car at home or not have to get that second car and get them home safely,” he said.
Having received a one-time grant from the Province’s Green Trip Funding program, the City of Leduc and Leduc County are partnering to purchase four 40-foot buses with WIFI and five community 21-passenger buses. There will also be a garage built in the City’s Operations yard, neighbourhood bus shelters and Park-n-Ride facilities put in at the Leduc Recreation Centre, Alexandra Arena and Leduc County office.
An added feature of the neighbourhood service, said Wenzel, is online tracking so riders can determine exactly where buses are at. “This way you don’t have to stand outside freezing for half an hour.”
Currently, the new buses are being built and planning and scheduling are being determined but Wenzel is planning to have the enhanced service operation Sept. 2.
Once the new transit service is operational, Wenzel believes the needs of most of Leduc’s residents will be met as Leduc Assisted Transportation Services is meeting the needs of the city’s elderly and disabled riders, but there is room for expansion.
“The whole internal Leduc service is a future endeavour,” he said. “We have to look at once everybody is at work and school? We’ll get there. Leduc’s still very small. We have to do this one step at a time but that’s the next step.”