Hundreds of Calgary seniors rely on public transit to travel where they need to go.
But for many living in the southeast areas of Dover and Southview, there are fears their bus route could soon be cut.
“There’s 300 to 400 people here just in our complex that take the bus. Most of them have mobility issues like me,” 64-year-old Gail McDonald said.
McDonald, who is battling multiple sclerosis, needs a walker to move around.
“In the winter time are we supposed to do, walk all the way down to the lights in the snow and drag our walkers through the snow bank? Nobody’s going to do that.”
Route 26 stops across the street from three seniors’ housing complexes. It also drives by grocery stores, pharmacies and area doctors’ offices.
It’s one of 40 Calgary Transit routes being reviewed to see where the city can shave expenses while still offering the service Calgarians need.
A community consultation is now under way to talk to riders who will be affected. The seniors affected by this proposed cut were invited to engagement sessions in April.
“The routes aren’t finalized yet,” Calgary Transit communication advisor Sherri Zickefoose said. “This has been one of the most engaged groups that we have met with and we met with them to learn more about what their specific needs were.”
Zickefoose said service reviews like this aren’t uncommon and this latest push comes as Calgary Transit looks at reevaluating services with the implementation of the bus rapid transit (BRT) project.
The next step will be to review all the routes in June to see where changes will be made.
The consultation process will wrap up on May 18, so anyone affected by the proposed changes still has time to voice their concerns at open houses and on the city’s website.
Transit route experts will look at all the information and implement changes this fall.
Even though no decision has been finalized to cut their route, McDonald said even the proposal is enough to start rallying.
“The ramifications are endless. Mentally, physically, financially. It’s going to be a hard go.”