June 14th, 2024

New cityLINK transit system off to a good start

By Al Beeber on August 31, 2021.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

The new cityLINK transit system is on a roll with few bumps in the road so far.
Nearly a week after virtually every rider was affected by changes to busing here, Lethbridge Transit general manager Tim Sanderson said Monday cityLINK “has been better received than we anticipated.”
Starting Aug. 25, city bus service began consisting of fixed routes and an on-demand service for residents on lesser-used routes. That on-demand service is available by calling 311 or by downloading the “Rides on Demand” app which is available for Android and Apple devices.
Every bus route changed to some degree with the launch of cityLINK which includes a 10/10 service between the University of Lethbridge and the city centre. This means buses leave every 10 minutes and arrive at their destination in 10 minutes.
Improvements have also been made to popular destinations such as the hospital and the ATB Centre in West Lethbridge. The new network, for example, lowers the travel time from Superstore in south Lethbridge to the University to 30 minutes from 1.5 hours.
Preliminary figures, said Sanderson, show 20 per cent of customers don’t have to switch buses.
“We changed the transportation of every person that uses Lethbridge Transit last Wednesday so we were expecting quite a disruption. We were expecting a lot of confusion despite all the efforts we made in order to communicate the changes and yes, we had some of that on the first couple of days but probably not as bad as we thought. I feel it’s really early but I feel it’s been better than we anticipated,” said Sanderson.
“We’ve done a lot of work and the amount of people I’ve talked to in the last few weeks is astounding and what we’re finding is there’s a lot of nervousness that this has changed. People have used the same bus to do that same trip for years without any changes but once we talk to them about what the changes are, more often than not we’re finding we’re actually saving them time. So one of the stats, it’s very preliminary and I don’t have the exact numbers, what we’re seeing is 20 per cent of our customers no longer have to transfer buses.
“Our efficiency’s gone up, our performance has gone up,” said Sanderson.
“I don’t want to sound like it’s going wonderful; there are people who used to always take the bus and now they can’t because of the service so those cases exist as well,” he said.
“We’re hearing lots from people who are dissatisfied with the changes because that’s the reason why they are calling. But we forget sometimes the vast majority of people we’re not hearing anything from. We’re getting complaints, we’re getting concerns but it’s not nearly what we thought it was going to be,” said Sanderson.
“It’s nice to have this couple of weeks to really sort it out and work out the bugs. We’ve got some changes we’re going to be making, slight modifications just in order to get everything’s working good,” he added.

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