By Letter to the Editor on September 15, 2021.
As a fairly new arrival to the city of Lethbridge I have just recently learned about a discriminatory issue with the buses in Lethbridge.
My family and I are fairly fortunate so we can afford some luxuries that some people cannot. So we are not totally dependent on using Lethbridge transit for our transportation, but on occasion we do use it.
On a recent occasion in mid August, I took the city transit bus to explore the city and to see how the bus routes function.
At the start I downloaded the app and wow, this really seems like a great thing. It can tell you when to leave your house to get to the bus stop in time. It gives you an arrival time at your destination. All this seems too good to be true and in reality it actually works!
So how is this a bad thing most of you are currently thinking?
Through friends and acquaintances I have heard nothing but negative feedback on the changes the city has made to the city bus routes.
Today I was driving past a bus stop sign. On it it has a number, this number is to identify the bus stop location etc. on the app. No bus route number, no times of service, nothing but the number to plug into the app.
Now let’s back track a little. Who are some of the people that depend on the transit system for their form of transportation?
The low income people are often very dependent on buses for their mode of transportation. Does someone just coming out of rehab have a smart phone?
If they do have a smart phone can they afford data at all times?
I know several people that use the pay as you go option because with their credit they cannot get a financed phone with data.
Pay as you go is not cost effective. I tried it a long time ago. I cannot count the times that I had been on the phone talking when I was disconnected because my balance ran out.
Or you have the misfortune of having time but the 30-day time limit expired so your time disappears.
Without the app you do not know which bus stops at a certain bus stop. In fact, the city in its glorious wisdom did major changes to the bus routes; many bus stops no longer are in use.
The city failed to take these no longer used signs down. Now any person that was used to the old bus route can be waiting at a “dead” bus stop sign for a long time before figuring out that the bus no longer stops there.
Without the app a person has no idea which bus will stop at a bus stop sign. You also have the added bonus of having several bus routes with the same route number.
A person without the app and knowledge of the city would have to remember “Do I take 20N Winston Churchill or 20N Legacy Ridge?”
Was there some sort of fee the city has to pay for each number of bus route that it uses?
With the app most of what I highlighted is avoided but the city failed to recognize that a significant portion of their ridership may not have the luxury of a smart phone and the app.