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Bus Network Redesign


A. Wong
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2 hours ago, M. Parsons said:

There isn't a lot of positive responses on social media to the new network. A big question is going to be what the "silent majority" think. It's entirely possible the vast majority are happy with the changes. 

I personally don't think that will be the case. And although I supported the overall concept, I am wondering if service to the "suburbs" has been cut too much. 

And what actually defines "suburbs" for Edmonton?

Personally, I have some improvements during some time periods and it's worse and others, so I'm generally on the fence.

Yes -- lots of ranting on social media, BUT much of it might have more to do with trip planner shock than what we will see on day 1... the "incomplete data" issues definitely aren't helping! My hope is that the majority of the inflated trip times will be resolved once the actual route schedules are released. In any case, regardless of whether or not the initial rollout goes well, there will most likely be a number of changes made in the first 1-2 years based on customer feedback.

Living downtown I am very happy with the changes, but I 100% sympathize with those who live further out... I love the idea of high frequency service in the core, but I'm not sure if that type of service is the best fit for a city as decentralized as Edmonton. If I could make one change, I'd restore some of the suburban service at the expense of overall frequency but keep the consolidated and streamlined route network. Service issues or not, at very least the new system is significantly more user-friendly than the patchwork mess we have now.

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4 hours ago, Catherine Wilkins said:

Using a pen, paper and exercising your brain was fun.  I miss those days.

I still plan my trips in that manner and am eagerly looking forward to individual route maps and schedules online. Even when I worked for ETS and everyone had resorted to using the trip planner, I still used  Brain, Paper and Pen and had a trip planned before the computer could spit out several poor options.

I have already planned out some future trips, but need the online schedules to 'connect' my trip plan routes. Some of my friends are already asking me for trip planning advice, so at the moment I can only give them the routes and where to transfer.

Edit: Schedules are online now, in brochure format. Perhaps the schedule lookup tool is not far behind.  https://www.edmonton.ca/projects_plans/transit/new-bus-routes.aspx

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A few years back I lived in an area of Millwoods. During the day there was a bus a block from my house, that was somewhat convenient. But 2 blocks aways was the Lakewood terminal, and I found it annoying that so many buses would run from Mill Woods to Millgate, and follow similar routing, I also found most of the buses to be empty or almost empty. Some days I would see 3 buses in a row, usually an 8 a 15 and then the 81 that would go to my area and between them there was 10 people. Hardly worth running all those buses for 10 people. Same in the north end, where I worked. I would take the 15 to Eaux Claires and after we left Northgate there would only ever be 3-4 people on with me on a 60 foot bus, and we would usually be right in front or behind the 9, and then we would have 1-2 other buses all running from Northgate. Again with less then 10 people between all of the buses. 

I get that in rush hour things are different. But outside of rush hours it was not necessary. For whatever reason the city of Edmonton loves building Transit Centres, and to justify building them they needlessly expanded so many routes to service them. Lewis Farms was the worst example as WEM was already an overcrowded transit centre and then they extended routes to service Lewis Farms. Hopefully when the LRT goes to Lewis Farms the city then creates a better network or buses in that area. 

I have heard but it is not confirmed that a lot of these changes are part of a much larger plan. As in when the LRT runs to Mill Woods the bus service in that area will be modified to move off of certain roads and to feed the trains. Also Millgate and Lakewood will both be closing. The other part of the puzzle is when the LRT extends to WEM and Lewis farms a lot of routes will be changed again to feed the trains better and a lot of routes will not run into downtown from the West end. Most will stop at Lewis Farms and WEM. The other big thing I have heard is in terms of the regional transit, originally ETS was going to only upload some of the runs to cover parts of the regional routes, and then once the full network is up and operating ETS was going to upload all of the service to the regional system. I suspect the changes will not happen as planned due to Strathcona pulling out of the regional system. Lets hope that in a couple years everyone that decided not to enter into the regional system will change there mind, then ETS can upload all routes into the regional network and drastically improve service. 

I was thinking long before the talk of a network redesign and a regional system that both Edmonton and Calgary should go the translink route. Translink is very much a regional system that covers a wide area of the greater Vancouver area and transit is mostly seamless from the suburbs to downtown Vancouver. Hopefully Strathcona and Leduc I believe was the other one see that and join in eventually, because it is going to be necessary in a few years to have a better network across the Edmonton area and at that point I think the routes will be better. I am wondering if this is growing pains right now and part of a larger picture, or if Edmonton is really just not focused on trying to make things better for everyone. Only time will tell I guess

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23 minutes ago, brianc1981 said:

Hopefully Strathcona and Leduc I believe was the other one see that and join in eventually

Leduc is part of the EMTSC, it's Sherwood Park and Morinville not part of the plan, and Morinville pulled out due to funding issues thanks to Covid

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1 hour ago, brianc1981 said:

A few years back I lived in an area of Millwoods. During the day there was a bus a block from my house, that was somewhat convenient. But 2 blocks aways was the Lakewood terminal, and I found it annoying that so many buses would run from Mill Woods to Millgate, and follow similar routing, I also found most of the buses to be empty or almost empty. Some days I would see 3 buses in a row, usually an 8 a 15 and then the 81 that would go to my area and between them there was 10 people.

Sounds like you lived very close to where I used to be.

1 hour ago, brianc1981 said:

I have heard but it is not confirmed that a lot of these changes are part of a much larger plan. As in when the LRT runs to Mill Woods the bus service in that area will be modified to move off of certain roads and to feed the trains.

This has already happened, and was a part of the BNR. A few of the Mill Woods routes have gone from a North/ South, Mill Woods TC/ Millgate scheme to a East/ West, Meadows/ West Mill Woods scheme. 38 Ave will become a busy interchange point between routes: 503, 507 serving Southgate, 509 ring route, 508, and the LRT/ 510X.

I don't believe the 507 will serve Davies once Millgate closes. Not sure about the 503.

1 hour ago, brianc1981 said:

Also Millgate and Lakewood will both be closing.

Lakewood, no. Technically it's been a major off road bus stop since MWTC opened. ETS never removed it from maps however. It grew in importance a bit when the 78 and 79 only operated to Lakewood, and the peak 66's that terminate there, and for some time, peak route 8's. About 75% of the bays will still be in used at Lakewood.

Millgate is of course a stop gap until Davies opens. 

1 hour ago, brianc1981 said:

 

 

1 hour ago, brookiedbj said:

Leduc is part of the EMTSC, it's Sherwood Park and Morinville not part of the plan, and Morinville pulled out due to funding issues thanks to Covid

Leduc County pulled out as well. Not sure how that's going to work with local routes. And this is despite Beaumont, Leduc, and Devon all being apart of the EMTSC.

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23 hours ago, Catherine Wilkins said:

One of the reasons for discontinuing the BBC's was the increase in jaywalking

People still jaywalk, that wasn't it. A lot of old myths were trotted out by ETS and CoE to kill off the trolleys, plus the dream to replace the trolleys with hybrids (like that worked out well). Takes a lot of pride, dedication, finesse and teamwork to operate a successful trolley system, something the powers that be at the time couldn't be bothered to do.

Some good info here.. http://www.trolleycoalition.org/media/

Also a great article here.  http://www.econogics.com/ev/Edmonton Trolleys.pdf

Plus Don Iveson clearly hits the nail on the head with this snippet / statement taken from a link in the above pdf.

[ I generally give the benefit of the doubt to our civil servants, but this is one instance where I have to confess that they clearly started with a firm position against trolleys, and worked backwards to construct an argument around that conclusion.

A thorough and open-minded analysis (a fair fight) might ultimately have convinced me that a trolley system was the wrong fit for Edmonton’s future, but we didn’t get that. ]

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20 hours ago, Catherine Wilkins said:

Expecting someone to plan your trip might lead to disappointment unfortunately.  Making sure you leave enough time between connections, will return positive results.

I spent 18 out of 22 years planning trips. The only thing that was disappointing was the scheduling. The inevitable scenario where the connection is by a minute or two (one red light too many and you're hooped), or missed altogether and wait 30 or 60 minutes.  Having to tell someone I can get you there an hour early or 30 minutes late is not what they want to hear.  It is not always possible to 'leave enough time between connections'. If your first bus and your connecting bus are both on 30 minute headways, leaving a half hour earlier or later won't make a difference connection-wise.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Stop 1933 NB on 124 Street and 108 Ave has the route 3 & 5 ending April 24 and underneath that states the route 3 Starts April 25, 2021.  There are several signs along 124 Street with errors. Doesn't give one much confidence in the relaunch with so many errors even before it starts.

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1 hour ago, Catherine Wilkins said:

 Create a 790X (NON-STOP Leger to UofA).  

Something along these lines was planned as part of putting a busway on the Terwilliger expressway project, specifically using at least some electric buses. Not sure what will become of it however due to the Provincial funding cuts and adjusted scope of the Terwilliger project. We can hope though.

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6 hours ago, Catherine Wilkins said:

Planners require an enormous amount of THANKS for creating the 500X (NON STOP Meadows to Downtown).

Isn't the existing 90 a Downtown to Meadows express?  I'll admit I haven't looked at the new route, but I remember seeing the 90 to Meadows when I was catching my express home.  Not that I've taken transit in an entire year now though since COVID and working from home became a thing.

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39 minutes ago, awstott said:

Isn't the existing 90 a Downtown to Meadows express?  I'll admit I haven't looked at the new route, but I remember seeing the 90 to Meadows when I was catching my express home.  Not that I've taken transit in an entire year now though since COVID and working from home became a thing.

Yes, the 500x is the replacement for the 90, with minor changes to the express stops and the Downtown routing.

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I do find some of the changes to be absurd beyond my comprehension, l completely don't understand the rationale of the disintegration of route 10 and creation of this piggy tail route 123 that does not even run 7 days a week. this route 123 should run from Coliseum to Eaux Claires via 82 Street and 153 Avenue.  Then the over congregation of routes on 137 avenue, leaving only one part time service on 135 Avenue which is most likely going to be served by the smaller Vicinity bus since it is the inheritance of the 303.  I even checked the schedules of the new 52 and 54, for westbound trips leaving Northgate, one leaves at 12 and 42 minutes after the hour, and other one at 13 and 43 minutes after the hour.  Can they at least run them 15 minutes apart, not 1 minute apart and 29 minutes without service?  The imbalances between over concentration and no service at all are happening everywhere, the Saddleback Road between 23 Avenue and 111 Street will lose all service, and yet 23 Avenue has so many routes bunched together.  One FB question asked the rationale of terminating the 7 at CN tower, ETS responded by saying transit planer determined that the downtown core would be very congested if all buses use the same roads.  But if it is really for that cause, the new 7 should really be interlined with the new 1 and run as a crosstown frequent service from WEM to Capilano, the downtown portion runs on 104 Avenue, 95 Street, Rowland Road, Dawson Bridge.  Keep them as two routes so one does the 1A looping pattern and one does the 1B looping pattern, give them 20 minutes interval individually so that the combined frequency is 10 minutes.  Lastly community routes that travel long distances but very little displacement, among the multiple routes that run between CP and Leger, at least one can be extended to WEM or Lewis Farm via Anthony Handay.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I agree with the posts regarding scheduling and the mind boggling planning but here are my thoughts. 

First, I truly believe a lot of this is temporary. Meaning a lot of what they are doing is get it done and out there then modify on the fly. So as it was stated with the 52 and 54 leaving Northgate, they are currently due to leave a minute a part of each other and then nothing for 29 minutes. I truly believe a lot of these schedules will change, partially based on feedback, and partially based on ridership numbers. 

Second, A lot of this service will be further modified when the new LRT opens to Millwoods. ETS said at one point this is the final service when the line is operational but I can see several routes being cut to only service certain areas and feeding even more people to the train. I also think that when the construction starts on the service to WEM and Lewis Farms, we will see even more changes to service in areas impacted by the construction. I feel the service now only addresses part of the construction questions but there will be routes impacted due to road closures in areas that cause traffic flow to move to other roads. Meaning unless there is bus priority on certain corridors buses will get delayed more, and I believe ETS will have to change some of the service and frequency. 

Third, I think that some of the route and service changes will make it longer for people to go between certain points, especially in areas that have really tight connections. Example. a friend of mine lives near 132 ave and 125 st and where her daughter goes to school, before the service changes it is 2 buses and about 5 minutes between the first and second bus. Looking at the trip planning for the new routes she found one option but it was almost impossible to make a connection because she would get off one bus walk a block and get on the second but have to do it in about 1 minute. So the other connection she found was to go to Kingsway and take the train to downtown and get off at corona and walk upstairs and take a bus there. It takes an hour and 15 minutes this way. The way it takes now is 45. The way she found with the transfer and most certainly missing a bus would be 2 hours with the missed connections. 

That will not fly for a lot of people and if there are many more people that deal with changes like that just to go to work or school, then people will stop riding transit. So ETS will need to find ways to improve service. Even if it means taking 2 routes and spacing out the frequency such as the 52/54 so there is no 29 minute gap. 

 

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10 hours ago, brianc1981 said:

Second, A lot of this service will be further modified when the new LRT opens to Millwoods. ETS said at one point this is the final service when the line is operational but I can see several routes being cut to only service certain areas and feeding even more people to the train.

How so? 

This was designed assuming LRT was in operation.

Routes are focused on getting riders to the LRT either at Mill Woods TC, 38 Ave, or Davies. Indeed, it seems to get to MWTC could be tougher now for some Mill Woods riders. They will need to transfer to the LRT, rather than having a one seat ride to MWTC.

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31 minutes ago, M. Parsons said:

How so? 

This was designed assuming LRT was in operation.

Routes are focused on getting riders to the LRT either at Mill Woods TC, 38 Ave, or Davies. Indeed, it seems to get to MWTC could be tougher now for some Mill Woods riders. They will need to transfer to the LRT, rather than having a one seat ride to MWTC.

509A/B seems to be a good option for lots of millwoods riders to get to the dying mall that is MWTC.

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16 minutes ago, awstott said:

509A/B seems to be a good option for lots of millwoods riders to get to the dying mall that is MWTC.

Not so much for the mall, but to transfer. In particular along the 506, 507, and 508. If you want to get to MWTC to transfer to anything, you need to transfer to the LRT/ 510X or even the 509 first. Direct routes to MWTC have been the norm since the areas north and east of Mill Creek were developed. 

And I don't think ETS has done anything to facilitate transfers in the Millbourne area, given this could be the focal point and not Millgate. Maybe a couple of new, well placed bus stops. 

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On 4/23/2021 at 10:00 AM, brianc1981 said:

Third, I think that some of the route and service changes will make it longer for people to go between certain points, especially in areas that have really tight connections. Example. a friend of mine lives near 132 ave and 125 st and where her daughter goes to school, before the service changes it is 2 buses and about 5 minutes between the first and second bus. Looking at the trip planning for the new routes she found one option but it was almost impossible to make a connection because she would get off one bus walk a block and get on the second but have to do it in about 1 minute. So the other connection she found was to go to Kingsway and take the train to downtown and get off at corona and walk upstairs and take a bus there. It takes an hour and 15 minutes this way. The way it takes now is 45. The way she found with the transfer and most certainly missing a bus would be 2 hours with the missed connections. 

That will not fly for a lot of people and if there are many more people that deal with changes like that just to go to work or school, then people will stop riding transit. So ETS will need to find ways to improve service. Even if it means taking 2 routes and spacing out the frequency such as the 52/54 so there is no 29 minute gap.

With all due respect to you and your friend (I don't know the specifics outside of what you mentioned above), it seems that 90+% of the issues people are bringing up on social media etc. start exactly the same way. "I know someone who knows someone who's kids take transit and the new system is less convenient for them etc. etc." OK, fair point that the new routes will inconvenience the odd person, however comments such as this fail to consider why we needed the redesign in the first place. There are still far too many people in this city who consider transit to be a shuttle service for those who cannot drive and/or have no other choice. The new system, while far from perfect, is a logical step toward encouraging people to use transit as their primary means of transportation by providing frequent and reliable service to all areas of the city.

I wouldn't go as far as saying "a lot of this is temporary," but yes part of the redesign process involves making significant changes after the first year or two. I agree that there will most likely be significant changes, so it will be interesting to see what the system looks like in two years from now compared to day one.

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Just wondering how many bus riders, from looking at the bus stop signs, figured that their route number would be changing, but were not aware the routes would also be changing?  For example, people boarding the route 901 Jasper Place WB on 107 Ave figuring it would be like the 'old rte 3' and then being surprised when it didn't turn onto 124 Street ???  Will be fun tomorrow, I would love to be a fly on the wall. 

 

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5 hours ago, captaintrolley said:

Just wondering how many bus riders, from looking at the bus stop signs, figured that their route number would be changing, but were not aware the routes would also be changing?  For example, people boarding the route 901 Jasper Place WB on 107 Ave figuring it would be like the 'old rte 3' and then being surprised when it didn't turn onto 124 Street ???  Will be fun tomorrow, I would love to be a fly on the wall. 

 

I saw a bus go the wrong way and then have to turn around on a residential street. Old habits die hard.

 

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