Calgary’s new MAX rapid transit bus lanes cause traffic confusion for some

WATCH: The new network of rapid transit bus lanes offers more direct routes around Calgary. But as Christa Dao reports, the new lanes are creating confusion for some.

The newest addition to the City of Calgary’s transit system is creating traffic confusion for some drivers.

On Monday, riders will be able to use the $304-million MAX rapid transit bus network. Three bus routes — MAX Orange, MAX Teal and MAX Purple — will connect Calgarians from one side of the city to the other.

READ MORE: Calgary’s new MAX bus rapid transit system to open Nov. 19

The new lanes are designed for buses only as a way to streamline traffic. However, Calgarians who live and work near the MAX lane on 17 Avenue and 19 Street S.E. said it’s been chaos since work began. The additional signage is also creating commuter disarray, especially during busy travel times.

“[During] rush hour it’s insane,” Jessice Ecclestone said.

She works at a spin studio nearby and said clients are frequently late or sometimes don’t even make it in.

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“It’s really congested,” Ecclestone added.

At CNS Lou’s Auto Body Shop, owner Steven Dupont said his customers are confused by the new routes too.

“We get a lot of comments from our customers about how it was really confusing, about how they had the layout done,” he said.

Joe Nagy has been a resident of Inglewood for 28 years and said he’s never seen traffic in such disarray.

“It’s a complete zoo,” he said.

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“It’s just backed up around the corner and everything. It’s making it harder to get through the lights and down the street.”

Officials behind the megaproject said the new routes need some getting used to. They do expect traffic to improve and said additional safety measures may be added, if required.

“We’ll be out here on Monday as the buses run to evaluate if we have any issues and put up safety features if needed,” Calgary Transit director Doug Morgan said.

Service on the new lines will run every 12 to 18 minutes during peak times. All bus shelters on all three routes will be heated.

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A fourth MAX line route in southwest Calgary is currently under construction and will begin operation in 2019.

“MAX is the largest single addition to our city’s rapid transit network to date,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said.

The project saw money come from all three levels of government.

Calgary allocated close to $76 million from the province’s Municipal Sustainability Initiative grant. That money, in addition to the provincial government’s $116-million contribution, brought the province’s total investment to about $235-million. The federal government contributed about $42 million.

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