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Peak LRT service bumped up, bus routes to change in Calgary Transit winter schedule

Four car service during peak times on Calgary’s LRT Red line along with a host of other Calgary Transit route changes are coming up Monday.

Calgary Transit is making their winter service changes, and with it are tweaks to dozens of Calgary routes. It’s all a part of typical quarterly updates they make to optimize routes. It’s not connected to the proposed Route Ahead changes from earlier this month.

Increased ridership is driving the increase to the four-car trains during peak hours, plus the availability of more resources, according to Amanda Bradley with Calgary Transit.  

They’ll also be increasing frequency at those times to three-to-five minutes between trains.

The city launched four-car service seven years ago to deal with a swell in demand. That bumped capacity by 200 riders per train. When the pandemic ridership dropped to a fraction of normal levels, the fourth car was removed from service.

As the city’s emerged from the pandemic, Calgary Transit has been trying to increase service levels. They’re hampered by an inability hire the required number of operators. Calgary Transit director Sharon Fleming said previously that it might take until the end of 2023 to resume pre-pandemic levels of service.

To that end, Bradley said they’ll look at adding four-service to the Blue line in the future as both ridership recovery and resources fall in line.

Bus route changes

Calgary Transit has posted 53 route changes that will start Dec. 19. 

“Those changes are typically just very minor, like five minutes here or there,” Bradley said.

“Sometimes we add a stop and it’s really just to provide better connections and to be able to adhere to our schedule better.”

There are some routes in southwest Calgary where some routes will be eliminates and replaced with others, or they’re being joined to another route, Bradley said.

Ward 11 Coun. Kourtney Penner said they’re constantly trying to respond to public input and ensure that the design and delivery of transit is meeting citizen expectations.

“I think what we’re seeing is, you know that rebound to transit is starting to happen and so we can make those service adjustments accordingly,” she said.

Penner said this wasn’t Route Ahead related.

“What it is, again, it’s returning to some of those base levels and frequencies that we’ve previously had and then looking to augment from there,” she said.

Bradley said they wouldn’t be making any changes based on Route Ahead until the final plan is approved.  That’s expected sometime in the second quarter of 2023.