More Leduc and Leduc County residents will be able to leave their car at home and ride the bus with the unveiling of Leduc Transit.
The service, which becomes available Sept. 8, offers three new local routes with 96 stops between Leduc, Leduc Business Park, Nisku and the Edmonton International Airport. A commuter service, formerly called the C-Line, to Century Park Transit Centre in south Edmonton is still available.
In March 2013, the provincial government provided more than $3.4 million in capital grant funding to be directed towards the $5.165-million initiative. The City of Leduc will pay 65 per cent of the ongoing operating cost, with Leduc County contributing the remaining 35 per cent.
In a recent press release, Alberta’s Minister of Transportation way Drysdale said, “The Government of Alberta, through the GreenTRIP program, is committed to investing in innovative projects that better connect our communities. Leduc’s improved intermunicipal transit service will help to reduce traffic congestion on provincial highways and serve a need in the region.”
Since the C-Line was introduced in November 2010 to connect Leduc and Nisku riders with the City of Edmonton, ridership as increased 25 per cent each year. The expansion will see the addition of three local routes between Leduc and Nisku.
“We are proud of the collaboration between Leduc County and the City of Leduc to bring our residents and commuters an enhanced inter-municipal transit service,” said Leduc County Mayor John Whaley. “We look forward to the continued benefits this service provides to our ratepayers, the environment and the region.”
With change in transit service comes a change in user fees too.
During the Aug. 25 City council meeting, the City’s Public Transportation manager Kevin Wenzel asked council to approve an increase in transit fees.
“We’ve increased the number of products we’re going to be selling and this is the first increase to monthly passes since service started.”
Council agreed to increase monthly passes, which allows for unlimited travel between Leduc and Edmonton, to $80, a 10-pack of tickets is $45, a day pass to is $9, one-way service is $5 and U-passes can be used for an additional $1. Monthly passes for service in Leduc are $55 or $2 per day. These changes come into effect Oct. 1.
For the month of September, however, anyone wanting to check out the Leduc Transit system can do so for free.
“We’re excited to introduce Leduc Transit’s local bus service, free-of-charge, to local and area residents,” said Wenzel “This is a great way for the public to try the new local service before they commit to buying a pass.”
The Ride’s on Us program runs from Sept. 8-30.
During the council meeting, Mayor Greg Krischke asked about the possibility of additional stops in the future as he believes one that would accommodate junior high and high school students is needed.
“I had to put bus stops where I though they’d be needed but we could add stops,” he said, noting there will be changes in the future as ridership dictates improvements.
Currently, the closest stop the Leduc Composite High School and Leduc Junior High is at Alexandra Park.
Councillor Beverly Beckett was happy to hear that.
“I’m really pleased this is a work in progress and open to people speaking to you so it’s available to as many people as possible,” she said.
Service currently only runs at peak hours in the morning and afternoon said Wenzel but that could also change in the future.
“This is a really enhanced service for the citizens of Leduc,” said Krischke.
For more information on the new service, go to www.LeducTransit.ca.