Many Edmontonians are beginning to grow even more wary of a newly announced plan for Edmonton buses that is to begin as soon as July 2, 2017. The announcement states, “Major ETS changes start July 2 to serve you better. Plan ahead. Recheck your trips and schedules”. — ETS
Cuts in transit access, specifically in the suburbs have people shaking their heads. Adding new buses to weekend scheduling will be brought into routes in the core of the city, instead.
“It’s a bid to save money and it’s NOT going to be more efficient”, stated one angry father from Windermere whose daughters rely on the bus during both the school year and for getting to work in the summer. Apparently, fewer buses will be available to them and much longer walks to bus stops will be required.
Parents are concerned about safety, a new lack of convenience, and even health issues if these new charges are to be progressed through into the cold, winter months. With longer walks and waits, especially as night falls, parents have become increasingly concerned. Another angry parent states, “It’s not gonna boost ridership like they wanted…what are they thinking?”
Months ago, Mayor Don Iveson confidently announced that Federal funding will be in place to improve the system. He stated back then, “Mayors are going to be very pleased with what we have seen (on the issue of transit)…Which is a stable and predictable long-term, unprecedented level of Federal investment in transit”.
However, many Edmontonians are now witnessing the arrival of unusual transit changes which as one frustrated mother of bus-taking, school-aged children, remarked, “…is a step backwards. What happened to all that promised Federal funding that was supposed to improve the system? They are disposing of bus routes that we’ve been making use of for the past few years. Nobody knows what’s happening, or why it’s happening. There’s no plausible explanation for these idiotic changes except for money and political posturing”.
The president of the union for ETS drivers, Mark Titterington of ATU Local 569 has confirmed concerns about the drastic changes to the suburbs. The City’s aim is to bolster ridership, “but how is a boost in Sunday hours downtown going to get more people to board the bus in the city as a whole? The effects on the new lack of transport in the suburbs will mean people are going to have to walk long distances, which will be hard on a lot of people with limited mobility and those who are seniors”, states Titterington.
More operators need to be added, not drastically cut, especially with regard to the issue of safety. “It’s well known that women have been assaulted at or near bus stops and kids bullied even on the buses themselves.” Hence, if they are going to force what they feel are necessary changes to the bus system, with people having to travel long distances in order to board a bus, then citizen safety and security should be at the top of their priority list.
This article was written by Donna Murchie.