Better transit balance needed
Wednesday, Jul 19, 2017 11:13 am
If the Town of Okotoks and Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) want to bring local transit service to Okotoks, it should fit the needs of the community.
The existing local bus route running within Okotoks in the morning and afternoon doesnít come close to serving residents and should be axed.
In the first eight months, only eight people used the morning local bus and 23 people used it in the afternoon. This is no surprise when the bus only runs twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon. There is no service during the mid-day hours and the buses only serve a limited part of the community.
The partnership has recommended eliminating the service to reduce costs and working with Town administration to come up with a different local program, likely using smaller busses. A business case is expected to be presented to council in September.
If a revamped version of local transit is to be considered, the Town must ensure there is enough demand to warrant it.
Secondly, the times and routes need to be broad enough to meet the needs of potential riders. This means having buses run during mid-day hours and through a larger part of the community.
Finally, it should to be affordable Ė for riders and taxpayers.
Public transit, by its very nature, is subsidized by public dollars. However, Coun. Carrie Fischer noted Monday that on the Calgary commuter service, the subsidy rate per user runs around $1,000 per person. Costs in a CRP report presented to council arenít broken down for the local route.
A local transit service could benefit residents Ė some donít have vehicles to get around and the town has simply grown too big to be able to walk to some destinations quickly.
If local transit is to be re-launched, the Town and CRP need to ensure it strikes a better balance, for both riders and taxpayers.