June 16th, 2024

Sit-in planned over accessible transit

By Al Beeber - Lethbridge Herald on April 6, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

A sit-in is being planned at Thursday’s Civic Works Standing Policy Committee meeting in City Hall by a group with concerns about the cityLINK transit system which was launched last August.
Tim Sanderson, General Manager of Lethbridge Transit, will be presenting a report to the SPC about redesigns to the network.
Development of cityLINK was based on the 2017 transit master plan and “included a robust engagement process and recommendations related to the previous route network,” says a summary of Sanderson’s report which will be presented to the SPC whose members include chair and Deputy Mayor Belinda Crowson, vice-chair Nick Paladino, John Middleton-Hope and Ryan Parker.
Transit is recommending cityLINK become permanent with quarterly adjustments made to reflect changing travel patterns, metric indicators and feedback.
The report says returning Transit to the pre-cityLINK system would cost the city $352,000 annually plus $150,000 in one-time costs and would result in a 10 per cent reduction to future revenue which is estimated at $300,000 annually. It says there would be additional costs of about $600,000 per route.
A group led by student Jess Tollestrup will be at council chambers with the goal of putting pressure on council “to vote for accessible, affordable transit with the $350,000 budget cut re-instated,” says a press release from the group.
Tollestrup said Tuesday in an interview cityLINK is not working for all users and the group is hoping council will take notice.
“We’re hoping to put some pressure on city council to vote for accessible, affordable transit,” said Tollestrup.
“I’m not sure what exactly the options they’ve come up with for the new meeting are. So we want to let them know the budget cut is not making transit accessible or affordable and it’s not in line with the transit master plan which calls for more funding of transit and not less,” Tollestrup said.
“They’ve made a lot of changes to cityLINK since it came in so there’s some stuff getting better like in demand zones the buses run way longer than they used to. That used to be part of the problem where people in demand zones couldn’t get to work on time but there’s still stuff where parents in demand zones now have to supply their own car seats so if you have two or three kids, how are you going to carry those around when you get to your destination?” she said.
Tollestrup added cityLINK doesn’t address the goal of having 95 per cent of users being able to walk less than 400 metres to a bus stop.
The transit report says returning service to its old format will cost a 10 per cent decrease in ridership, 30 per cent decrease in efficiency, would lower walking distance or travel times for some customers and cause the loss of transit service to several areas including Hardieville, Southbrook, Sherring Industrial Park and the WT Hill business park. It would also prompt the layoffs of between nine and 12 demand response operators.
The report says many transit users have “dramatically” decreased travel time with cityLINK and because of its design, the previous network can’t be adjusted in a meaningful way, therefore options are limited to improve network performance. Those options which are available, says Sanderson’s report, are cost-prohibitive.

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Citi Zen

What is the point of this? I see city buses all over the city throughout the day with one, or no passengers. What a waste of taxpayer dollars.