Cochrane offers free on-demand local transit during COVID-19 pandemic

The Town of Cochrane launched Cochrane On Demand Transit (COLT) buses in October 2019.
The Town of Cochrane launched Cochrane On Demand Transit (COLT) buses in October 2019. Carolyn Kury de Castillo/Global News

Cochrane will be offering free bus rides to help residents get to and from work and essential appointments as part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Members of the town council approved the move on Tuesday during a meeting held via video conference.

READ MORE: Town of Cochrane offers update on COVID-19 measures

In a Wednesday news release, Cochrane Mayor Jeff Genung said free rides on Cochrane On-demand Local Transit (COLT) is one of the ways councillors are hoping to provide financial relief for residents.

“We’ve made decisions about utility payments and taxes, but we also consider COLT an essential service so Cochranites can continue to get to their jobs and important appointments without transportation being an undue burden,” Genung said.

READ MORE: Town of Cochrane offers new utility payment options amid COVID-19 pandemic

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The free period will continue while the town’s COVID-19 response is underway, or as deemed necessary by town council.

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COLT was launched in October 2019

Enhanced cleaning and safety measures on-board COLT buses

The Town of Cochrane said it implemented enhanced safety and cleaning measures to COLT buses in the wake of COVID-19, and also now restricts capacity to six riders per vehicle to allow for physical distancing.

“COLT currently has only two buses on the road to match the lower levels of demand,” a Wednesday news release explained. “This utilizes the on-demand nature of the service, saves on operational costs and aligns with the actions of other transit agencies.”

“COLT is closely monitoring the situation and we remain in contact with regional health authorities and other transit agencies to determine best practices to ensure our response remains appropriate.”

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How to use COLT

COLT riders can request rides using the COLT app or website or by calling 403-851-5995.

Buses run Monday to Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There is no service on Sundays.

READ MORE: Live updates: Coronavirus in Canada

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Alberta also remains in a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The province declared a public health emergency on March 17.

As of Tuesday, there were 358 in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Alberta, including two deaths.

For more information, you can visit the province’s COVID-19 website.