There are big changes coming to Lethbridge Transit after City Council approved piloting a new Transit On Demand system combined with more direct routes, as well as the implementation of new Access-A-Ride eligibility.
Based on recommendations from both the 2019 KPMG Operational Review, as well as the 2017 Transit Master Plan, these changes will look to help increase ridership, potentially reduce costs and make the most efficient use of resources.
"We know there has been a lot of really great research gone into the recommendations we got today with feedback from experts, staff and the community," says Councillor Blaine Hyggen. "I'm confident these new initiatives will create a positive change for our residents."
Transit On Demand and City Link
Transit On Demand will allow for service in areas where fixed Transit routes are not financially viable. Using technology to book rides, Transit On Demand will help increase ridership, expand service area coverage and build in flexibility to create efficiencies in these areas.
The Transit Master Plan in 2017 identified that Transit needed to move from a coverage model to more of a ridership model. This would mean straighten routes and having direct connections to areas of employment, schools and amenities. Along with piloting the Transit On Demand system in all areas east of the Oldman River, Council also approved the development of City Link (a fast and efficient Transit routing system).
"Through the community engagement we've done around Transit services, we know residents want reliable and convenient transit routes," says Scott Grieco, Transit Operations Manager. "That's what Transit On Demand and City Link aim to achieve. We will be able to provide simple, straight conventional routes in the right areas at the right times while giving customers flexibility for trip bookings using on demand technology."
The details of the Transit On Demand trial include:
- Transit On Demand will operate a one-year trial
- Monday to Saturday after 7 p.m.
- 30-minute frequency from 7 p.m. to midnight
- City Link is developed by realigning routes 12, 23 and 24
- All west Lethbridge routes and frequencies remain unchanged from the current level of service
- Saturday and Sunday service remains unchanged from current level of service
Implementation of this new system will take up to 12 months to be fully operational. Once the changes are in place, the one-year trial will begin. Transit will report back to Council on the success of the pilot after the trial has been completed.
City Council has also approved Administration to develop eligibility criteria for Access-A-Ride programs, in an effort to improve the clarity and defensibility of the eligibility requirements and to target the Access-A-Ride service for those users who truly require the assistance.
"Through research and analysis, it was determined that the ability to manage Access-A-Ride capacity concerns is majorly based on the eligibility criteria of riders," Grieco says. "This was recommended as well in both the Transit Master Plan and the KPMG Transit Operational Review. Contracting an occupational therapist, who would determine eligibility through an assessment process and with a clearly defined tier system, would enable the service to operate more effectively for those who require the service."
Implementation of this new system will take up to 12 months to be fully operational. Transit will report back to Council on an annual basis.
- On April 27, 2020, at a CIC meeting, members were presented scenarios for cost savings along with the request to implement the City Link combined with Transit On Demand.
- On June 1, 2020, Council directed the City Manager to develop a more detailed on demand transit system that includes specific information related to the actual service model, customer access processes, infrastructure changes, mapping, and hours of service, by September 1, 2020.
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