2022 SU General Election Full Supplement

Photo by Mariah Wilson

Transit cuts impact student commute

By Serena Sajan, September 19 2019—

Calgary Transit has been undergoing many budget cuts throughout the years, and this year it is expected that the City of Calgary will be reducing the budget by $9.3 million. This translates into a cut of 80,000 service hours. 

There’s already a long list of complaints about Calgary Transit, including bus drivers, seeing you running for the bus but deciding to drive away, drivers arriving too early or too late at the bus stop, trains being delayed constantly or rush hour forcing you to wait for the next train. The new municipal budget cut just made this list a bit more interesting. What does the budget cut mean for local Calgarians using transit services? 

With a cut of $2.4 million to “specialized transit,” the Calgary Transit Access service will be affected and may cause problems for the 15,000 Calgarians that cannot use regular transit services due to a disability. 

There will be increased wait times for Calgarians at bus stops and train stations. This was an issue already, but now it will be much worse. Calgarians can expect to wait up to 40 minutes in cases when a bus is missed or wait 10—15 minutes between trains. Currently, it is forecasted that the Red Line and the Blue Line LRTs will be affected the most, with reduced servicing hours after 8 p.m. and on weekends.

Another issue that the budget cut gives rise to is longer transfers. For those that opt not to purchase a monthly transit pass or don’t have a UPass, they may have to purchase more than one fare during the day due to longer wait times and reduced service hours. Although Calgary Transit expresses that there will be other routes to fill in, it is inevitable that there may only be one way, such as a bus — or a bus and train — to get to a specific destination.

It is frustrating, as a student whose commute is about an hour long, to see Calgary Transit struggle to maintain convenience for its users. What is true disappointment? Missing the bus. Because then you must wait for at least 20 minutes (depending on the route) for the next one. In this way, you might end up late for a class or another commitment. There are many issues that need to be addressed, and this budget cut only adds more fuel to the fire. 

New routes were established in fall 2018, with mixed response. Some people found the new routes to be efficient, whereas it proved to be more troublesome for others. The new route changes introduced three “MAX” buses which are supposed to be faster with intentional stops. However, the MAX Orange took even longer to get to university for the students living in the NE quadrant of the city. Would it not be more efficient if there was a special service bus for university students, say a bus for Mount Royal University and University of Calgary? A service like that would be similar to those offered to high school students that are assigned Transit buses. Of course, with the new budget cuts, this may not be possible anytime soon.

Calgary Transit also expresses that they conduct surveys, asking for feedback and suggestions from the local public that use their services. Either this survey is not marketed enough, or I have been ignorant, because what is supposed to provide the most convenience is evidently becoming a huge inconvenience. Budget cuts or no budget cuts, Calgary Transit needs to take a step back and analyze if they are making decisions that are best for them or the people using their services.

Hiring | Staff | Advertising | Contact | PDF version | Archive | Volunteer | SU

The Gauntlet