Calgary and Chestermere explore regional transit system

FILE: A Calgary Transit bus .
FILE: A Calgary Transit bus . Calgary Transit

The cities of Calgary and Chestermere are exploring the possibility of creating regional transit service between the two centres.

Informal discussions have taken place since the start of this year with Chestermere getting a consultant to cost out a number of options.

Four options include: extending the MAX Purple line to run into Chestermere, peak period service of the MAX line, a transit route that would go to East Hills Shopping Centre at Calgary’s eastern boundary and an express route into downtown. The costs range from $120,000 to $2 million.

“That’s weird,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi told reporters Thursday. “We haven’t had a chance with City of Calgary administration to vet those numbers, they don’t pass the smell test for me.”

READ MORE: New regional transit shuttle takes commuters to and from Calgary

Nenshi is supportive of exploring the idea of regional transit for a number of reasons.

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“You know, encouraging to take transit for all the same reasons we encourage Calgarians to take transit, it’s good for the environment, it’s good for social inclusion and it brings people into the city.”

He said it also could minimize future infrastructure costs.

READ MORE: From town to booming urban centre: Chestermere’s population surpasses 20,000

Nenshi said any transit agreement would have to be meet several criteria.

“It can’t increase costs to the City of Calgary, it has to end up in better service for Calgarians and people in the region and we have to make sure the operational decisions stay with the experts in the field — Calgary Transit.”

Chestermere city council wants more detailed discussion with Calgary Transit to explore the options of an express bus route into downtown Calgary with several stops in Chestermere and peak period service of the Max line from Calgary to Chestermere.

Meetings will continue between administrations from both cities with an update going to Calgary’s IGA committee in the second quarter of 2020.

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