January 22, 2020
Today, the team of elected representatives tasked with examining the feasibility of a Regional Transit Services Commission (RTSC) in the Edmonton Metro Region released their report: “Accelerating Transit in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region: Building a Regional Transit Services Commission.”
The RTSC report recommends combining transit services of 13 municipalities.This would create more opportunities for inter-municipal travel, with projected savings of 850 service hours per week and $3 million per year once systems are fully aligned in 2026. The report was led by a transition team of representatives from the 13 municipalities in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.
“We want to provide people living in the region the best possible transit experience we can,” said City of St. Albert Councillor Wes Brodhead, chair of the RTSC transition team. “With a plan to address integrated regional transit, we can try to close the gap between transit and automobile trips, while decreasing congestion and giving everyone the ability to experience what the region has to offer.”
The aim of the RTSC would be to improve mobility options and the movement of people across our rapidly growing region. As reflected in the report, uniting transit services across regional boundaries will allow for a more efficient and cost effective transit service, while reducing barriers to entry for communities that want to start a new transit service and eliminating the need for duplication of services along key corridors.
“As the Edmonton Metropolitan Region becomes more interconnected and complex, doing more of the same to meet the region’s mobility needs will not be sustainable over the long term,” said City of Edmonton Councillor Michael Walters, vice-chair of the transition team. “With the region growing at such a rapid pace, we need to take a critical look at how we can better serve the next million people through transit options.”
Mobility in the Edmonton Metropolitan Region is transforming. According to the 2015 Edmonton Regional Household Travel Survey, the number of daily transit trips in the region has increased by almost 9,000 since 2005, while the number of automobile trips has increased by about 236,000. That represents one transit trip for every 26 automobile trips.
“Jurisdictional boundaries shouldn’t limit how our citizens live, learn, work and play. People around the region want and need to move seamlessly,” said Councillor Walters. “Delivering transit in a collaborative and streamlined manner lets us meet challenges head-on and take advantage of opportunities today and into the future - together.”
In February and March 2020, the individual councils of all 13 Edmonton Metropolitan Region municipalities will vote on their decision to participate in a formal request to the Government of Alberta to create a new Regional Transit Commission.
For those who choose to join, work will begin in early 2020 to seek approval from the Government of Alberta and perform the planning required to begin delivering regional transit services in 2022.
The RTSC Transition Team, made up of councillors from 13 municipalities, led the formation of the report. The 13 municipalities included are the City of Beaumont, the Town of Devon, the City of Edmonton, the City of Fort Saskatchewan, the City of Leduc, Leduc County, the Town of Morinville, Parkland County, the City of Spruce Grove, the City of St. Albert, the Town of Stony Plain, Strathcona County and Sturgeon County.