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Edmonton launches new bus network and Mill Woods Transit Centre

Edmonton has a revamped bus network for the first time in more than 20 years.

Edmonton Transit Service’s new bus routes, on demand transit and the New Mill Woods Transit Centre went into service Sunday morning.

“Transit is most successful when it’s convenient and located close to where people work, live and play, so directing growth in our city to the nodes and corridors of density will allow more people ultimately to be served by mass transit, and our network will continue to evolve and adapt to our changing and growing city,” Mayor Don Iveson said.

READ MORE: Edmonton’s bus routes are changing. Here’s how to plan your trip

The new network includes five new bus routes and on demand service that has 57 accessible shuttles that travel to 37 Edmonton neighbourhoods and 16 seniors’ residences to transit hubs.

Concerns have been expressed by Edmonton residents that the new network will have fewer routes overall. However, Iveson said the changes will result in more frequent bus service, more direct routes and a system that is better connected on evenings and weekends.

“It’s very important to reinforce that though there may be less actual number of bus routes, there will be the same number of buses out there for the same number of hours,” he said. “You can now just appreciate that those buses and those hours of service are consolidated into fewer, better routes that will actually get people from A to B faster.”

READ MORE: New bus stop signs to appear on Edmonton streets ahead of 2021 network launch

ETS branch manager Carrie Hotton-MacDonald said she is confident the new bus network will be an improvement for Edmonton residents, particularly because thousands of Edmontonians were consulted through the planning stages.

“Overall, I’m really confident. I think so many people participated and we did a deep dive and came up with that high-frequency corridor and a plan that ensures people can get to where they need to go,” she said.

Iveson added that while he is also confident the network will be a success, there is room to make adjustments to the new system in the coming months.

“There are counters installed on the buses that actually help us track who’s getting on, what the volumes are like and we have a variety of ways of monitoring real-time what’s happening on the system and that’s going to allow over the summer for adjustments to be made,” he said.

READ MORE: Free on-demand shuttles to accompany Edmonton’s bus network redesign

The city said the on demand service is being provided in areas where it is a better fit than regular bus service by operating with the same or better frequency than regular service.

The on demand service, which is a two-year pilot project, will allow customers to book using three methods:

  • Download the Edmonton On Demand Transit app
  • Book online
  • Book over the phone at 780-496-2400

The opening of the new $17.4 million Mill Woods Transit Centre also opened in accordance with the launch of the redesign. The centre includes a covered walkway that connects to the Mill Woods Stop on the Valley Line Southeast LRT.

“The Mill Woods Transit Centre has been designed to make it simple for people to get to both their bus and their LRT connections. From the transit centre, it’s only about a one to two minute walk to the future Mill Woods LRT stop in a covered walkway,” Edmonton LRT expansion and renewal branch manager Bruce Ferguson said.

The city said the new transit centre was constructed near the new LRT to support redevelopment plans for the Mill Woods Town Centre area, which will include residential housing and commercial businesses.

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