You may have heard about the Transit Strategy  report that came to the Urban Planning Committee on July 5th for review. Most of the news coverage focused on a small component of the overall strategy so I’d like to point out a few things that I feel are important to the discussion.  

The public engagement process for the Transit Strategy Review was extensive. During the two year process, approximately 20,000 Edmontonians were engaged in developing the Transit Strategy. This included visiting neighbourhoods and special events by the What Moves You Engagement Bus and Street Team, online surveys and public/targeted workshops. A particular effort was made to reach individuals that traditionally face barriers to engagement through co-hosting targeted workshops with community organizations. I would also note that the team heard from both transit and non-transit users. Since only 13% of Edmontonians use transit on a regular basis, it’s important to hear both perspectives as transit impacts all Edmontonians.  

Here is a list of some of the stakeholders that shared input during the review:

  • Edmonton Transit System Advisory Board (ETSAB)
  • ATU 569 (Transit Union)
  • Urban Development Institute (UDI) Edmonton
  • Commercial Real Estate Development Association (NAIOP)
  • WAVE (Women’s Advocacy Voice of Edmonton)
  • Accessibility Advisory Committee
  • Canadian Hard of Hearing Association (CHHA)
  • Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)
  • City of Edmonton Youth Council (CEYC)
  • Voices of Albertans with Disabilities (VAD)
  • Intercultural Centre (includes multiple non-profits including the Multicultural Health Brokers)
  • Mill Woods Multicultural Womens’ and Seniors Services Association (MMWSSA)
  • Global Cafe at Jasper Place High School
  • Harry Ainlay High School
  • Strathcona Place 55+ Seniors Centre
  • West End Seniors Centre
  • Seniors United Now
  • Pride Centre
  • iHuman Youth Society
  • Old Stratchona Community Mapping Association
  • Catholic Social Services
  • Candora Society
  • Bent Arrow Traditional Healing Society
  • Edmonton Aboriginal Seniors Centre
  • Downtown Business Association
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Post-secondary students associations: U of A, NAIT, MacEwan, Kings
  • Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL)
  • Business Improvement Area Association
  • Edmonton Public School Board
  • Edmonton Catholic School Board
  • City Hall School
  • West End Business Association

ETS fares cover 40% of the operating cost; the other 60% (approximately $222 million) is provided by the City of Edmonton through a tax levy. Increasing ridership helps lower the costs for taxpayers, however it’s important to make transit affordable and convenient in order to increase ridership. This is something that was discussed at length in order to strike the right balance.  

While I believe changes to our transit system our long overdue, please have a read through the Transit Strategy and related attachments here  

 

 

Written by A. Knack and K. Machin