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Lethbridge Transit makes adjustments to manage demand on city’s west side

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WATCH ABOVE: The morning hustle for University of Lethbridge students taking the bus can be hectic and buses are often full. As Quinn Campbell reports, new changes made by Lethbridge Transit are expected to ease the demand – Oct 23, 2018

The morning hustle for University of Lethbridge students taking the bus can be hectic, but new changes made by Lethbridge Transit are expected to ease the demand.

“My roommate and I were getting onto the bus, and we are on the tail end of the bus route, and it was standing room only and there was maybe one seat in the whole bus and then we still had a few more stops to make,” explained Bailey Harray, a fourth year history student at the U of L.

She added the bus was so full that a transit van had to be sent to pick up passengers that wouldn’t fit on the bus.

READ MORE: University of Lethbridge students vote in favour of U-Pass

Harray made the decision to move off campus based on this year’s U-Pass being added into her tuition.

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Scott Grieco, transit operations manager with the city, said there has been a significant spike in demand.

“Ridership has increased 34 per cent on the west side alone,” Grieco said, “and overall ridership in transit is up just under 20 per cent.”

Harray said the noticeable increase in riders is very obvious during peak ride times, like in the morning.

“The more people on the bus, usually the later the bus comes,” she added.  “I don’t really want to have to wait outside for 20 minutes in -30C.”

WATCH: U-pass referendum brings up questions at University of Lethbridge town hall

Click to play video: 'U-pass referendum brings up questions at University of Lethbridge town hall' U-pass referendum brings up questions at University of Lethbridge town hall
U-pass referendum brings up questions at University of Lethbridge town hall – Mar 17, 2018

Grieco said transit has made changes to adjust to the demand.

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“In the afternoon it’s busy, but not quite as much as in the morning where we are seeing those high peak demands at those curtain hours.”

The changes, which started on Monday, Oct. 22, will be implemented on weekdays between 7:45 and 10:15 a.m.

  • Route 32 will continue to provide 10 minute frequency service as introduced in early October.
  • Route 36 will run on 15 minute frequency instead of the current 30 minute service.
  • A new route, Route 10 – City Center – Columbia – University, will complement the service between the University terminal and downtown.
  • In combination, Routes 10 and 12 will provide 15 minute bi-directional service between University and downtown during the peak morning hours.

These changes are being closely monitored on a trial basis.  The city said changes may be required in an effort to manage increased ridership.

In March, U of L students voted in favour of adopting the U-Pass.

READ MORE: University of Lethbridge student brings parking woes to city council

It’s a concept that has been shot down in previous years. Parking pass demands continue to rise, with permits selling out this year. More than 100 students are on a wait list.

Cara LaMontagne, manager of campus mobility, said the U-Pass is helping to alleviate parking problems.

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“It helps out with the parking lots, it helps out even with the bikers, the walkers,” LaMontagne said. “There is less congestion on campus and it’s more welcoming to visitors and community members coming here.”

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