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Red Deer Reality Rant #18 - Transit Transition

Hello there, fellow Red Deerians, I hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far. There’s probably not much more than a month and a half of warm temperatures and stores have already started stocking the shelves with back to school paraphernalia. Personally, I do wish I was going back to school, it was some great times at the now named Red Deer Polytechnic but things have changed there as well as in the rest of Red Deer since I graduated. Many, many, changes in Red Deer over the last couple of years and the time of the pandemic.

One such change greatly is affecting many Red Deerians, especially students and people who don’t drive. I’m talking about the plethora of changes Red Deer city transit has undergone since I myself was a monthly pass holder a few years ago. I think it’s great for people to use city transit. It’s better for the environment, economical, and cuts down on traffic congestion. In a city the size of Red Deer transit makes sense expediently. I can’t imagine a city without it.

Back when I was a student, the bus system here in Red Deer was pretty great. Busses ran until 11 o’clock at night and started super early, 5:45 am. There were routes with 2 busses per route so you were likely to be able to catch a bus every half hour in some areas of the city, and transit in general was efficient as well as cost effective for riders, and I believe it was comparable to transit in larger centres.

Flash forward to today and our bus system is sorely lacking. Regular bus service stops at 7:45 pm, there are fewer routes, it operates with fewer busses and with the time it takes to go from one part of the city to another in some areas, it would be definitely faster to walk. A person shouldn’t have to walk though, even in a small city, and sometimes you need transportation more cost effective than cabs and Uber if you have to travel a lot, along with having to carry loads of your work or school equipment it just isn’t feasible to walk.

A lot of jobs require people to work past 7:30 pm, and there are students with classes in the evening that now have quite the dilemma. These people now have a 7:30 pm curfew which is fine if you are in elementary school, but is horrible if you have a restaurant or retail job or are attending evening classes or even just want to go out for an evening and don’t drive a vehicle.

I understand that things got really messed up with the pandemic, but even the mask mandate has been dropped, it’s not required to ride on Red Deer Transit anymore. Transit service needs to go back to the service we had pre-pandemic.

There are thousands of Red Deerians who use transit and it only makes sense in a city. There are towns in Alberta who have transit and I am sure they are in better shape than Red Deer. We should be aspiring to have transit comparable to Calgary and Edmonton and make improvements beyond even the good service we had in 2020 before the pandemic struck. If anything, transit service in Red Deer only needs to grow, not be cut back.


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