On Thursday, Peter Hamel, the regional vice-president of Western Canada for Greyhound confirmed to 630 CHED that a plan is in place for getting passengers to the Kingsway LRT station from the Via train station.
“The passengers will come in, the buses will be unloaded at the Via station. Those passengers requiring transportation or connecting to any of the city infrastructure will be transported free of charge from the Via to the Kingsway. At the same time we’ll have a pick up for any passengers that are there. The buses will then return to the Via and drop those people off for departure.”
Council’s urban planning committee heard complaints from a citizen’s transit advisory panel about deficiencies in the system that hinder tourists.
Since then, efforts have been made to create a regional transportation hub to hook private companies like Greyhound in with Edmonton Transit. Now, a link between Greyhound and ETS is in the works.
“Those conversations are ongoing right now. I think we’ll have a solution before the snow flies,” confirmed ETS branch manager Eddie Robar.
The answer is the nearest LRT station, said Councillor Bev Esslinger.
“The Kingsway transit station, I understand that there is space for them. I know the city administration was working with Greyhound to come there.”
“We told Greyhound when they were there, there’s no sidewalks, but they felt they had a shuttle system to get people downtown and it wasn’t going to be an issue. Obviously it’s demonstrating that people are not using the shuttle and you’ll see the pictures of them with suitcases and the local residents will tell you about them coming in to their community.”
Robar told reporters the answers to the Greyhound problem will be made public in the next few days.
“When we talk to places like Greyhound, it’s, ‘What’s the opportunity to get from A to B.’ Ao I think we’ve come to a resolution on that. We should get it out in the next few days. Kingsway is the closest to the Greyhound station and we’re obviously looking at solutions for that.”
For the new plan to work, Hamel said the Greyhound passenger getting dropped off would already have a Greyhound ticket in hand, especially for the people being dropped off.
“Those passengers that are being picked up will either have a printed home ticket or stating that they’re going to the bus depot,” he explained. “There’s only one reason they’d be going to the bus depot. That’s to be taking Greyhound transportation and the ticket can be purchased there.”
As for the south side location, Hamel said it will be “business as usual.” Passengers will still be able to board and get off there.
Having a regional hub to assist visitors to the city was one of seven proposals from the Edmonton Transit System Advisory Board (ETSAB). ETSAB’s Izak Roux said they didn’t put the seven in any particular order, but he did tell the council committee that the hub, and the 747 bus from the Edmonton International Airport, were of the greatest concern.
A report to be released from the city on Thursday will identify problems with the 747 connection. The subsidy has run out as the pilot project contract has expired.
“Obviously it falls outside our municipal boundary so every time we provide that service we’re looking at the subsidy and allocations of that,” Robar said. “Revenues have been a challenge too for the city. We’re reviewing all of our services that we provide.”
Mayor Don Iveson told the committee providing transit service to the international airport benefits all of the regional partners.
“It’s a question of shared investment for shared benefit.”
“I talked to Mr. Ruth (Airport CEO Tom Ruth) about this very specifically as part of the four-way negotiations. It actually came up last week with Leduc County, City of Leduc, the airport and the City of Edmonton.”
The four partners are working on an economic development scheme that came out of annexation talks. City council will debate the city report next Tuesday in the open portion of the final council meeting of the term.