By Lethbridge Herald on April 3, 2020.
Starting Wednesday, April 8, Lethbridge Transit will suspend its current routing model and transition to ride by reservation for essential travel only. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this change will ensure transit can remain a safe and viable service for those who need it most.
Anyone requiring transit for essential travel including getting groceries or medications, attending medical appointments or going to and from work, can do so by reserving a ride through Lethbridge Transit. Reservations can be made online at http://www.lethbridge.ca/reserve-a-ride or by calling 403-359-6558.
Both online and phone reservations will need to be made before 4:30 p.m. the day prior to the planned trip. This reservation will identify the time and bus stop location the rider will be picked up at and dropped off at. This reserve a ride system will not provide door-to-door service but will provide a safe option for essential travel via transit during the COVID-19 crisis.
“We are asking riders to plan out their trips and reserve their ride as much in advance as they can. Once we have that information, we put it into our operating software and create a route based on these reservations,” says Scott Grieco, Transit Operations Manager for the City of Lethbridge. “We understand that emergency situations may come up like a health-care provider getting called in to work and we’ll do our best to meet those needs as they come up.”
Information on this new system will be provided to riders using Transit over the next few days and will be available online athttp://www.lethbridge.ca/transit.
Through the new reservation system, the software will ensure there is only a maximum of 14 riders per bus to maintain appropriate physical distancing and social gathering as per Alberta Health Services guidelines.
Riders with mobility aids are asked to now book their ride through the Access-A-Ride service by calling 403-329-6464. Because those needing to access a ramp on a Transit bus must access through the front, using Access-A-Ride will ensure all conventional transit riders are loading at the back of the bus, limiting contact with the operator.
Anyone looking to take transit on Wednesday, April 8 should ensure they have reserved their ride before 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 7. Reserve a ride service will operate Monday to Friday: 6:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Saturday: 7:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Sunday and holidays: 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
“We recognize that this is going to be a huge change for our riders and our staff and we ask for everyone’s patience and understanding while we work through this challenging time.” says Grieco. “We will continue to do all we can to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and help flatten the curve all while providing transit service for those who need it.”
Based on the average ridership over the last two weeks, it is anticipated that this new reservation system can handle the volume of essential transit travel needed in the city at this time.
Anyone with questions about the transit changes related to COVID-19 can contact Lethbridge 311 or visit http://www.lethbridge.ca/transit.