Mayors and elected officials gathered in Cochrane, Aug. 24, to get a close look at a double deck bus being considered for future regional transit.
Cochrane Mayor Truper McBride conducted a tour from the top level of the bus for the officials, who represented the 15 municipalities making up the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP).
The brand new bus was on loan from Strathcona County.
“The double deck is being considered because it meets municipalities’ goal of environmental sustainability, will accommodate future growth in passenger levels and provides comfort for passengers of all ages and physical abilities,” said McBride.
Cochrane is slated to introduce regional transit in 2012, although McBride said realistically, it could be January 2013 before commuters would see the service put in place.
The plan is to have three buses in service from downtown Cochrane to Calgary’s Crowfoot and Rocky Ridge LRT stations. McBride said the Town is expecting that about 200 commuters would use the service on weekdays.
“We are hearing a lot of positive feedback,” said McBride. “What we are really hearing is people want to have this tomorrow.”
The cost of the project is estimated to be $3.6 million. If approved, Provincial GreenTRIP funding will cover about two-thirds of the cost. The projected cost for customers is $6.50 per trip.
“As we see more demand, we will expand it,” said McBride.
“I really do want to expand this beyond a commuter service.”
Cochrane’s transit plan is part of a larger regional transit plan for the Calgary Metropolitan Area, which is expected to grow to about 2.8 million people by 2070.
The City of Airdrie will roll out its own service this fall, with other communities moving towards regional transit based on budget and resources.
“The Calgary Regional Transit Plan was unanimously endorsed by the 15 CRP municipalities in 2009, a clear demonstration that communities can work together for the benefit of residents,” said Colleen Shepherd, executive director of the Calgary Regional Partnership.
“The next step is to tap into the provincial GreenTRIP program.”
Shepherd said the Regional Transit Plan envisions shuttles connecting outlying communities with transportation hubs in larger centres, such as Airdrie, Chestermere, Cochrane and Strathmore. She envisions this occurring within a five or six year time span.