Some NAIT students found getting to classes last week more challenging than usual.
Edmonton Transit Service regularly reduces its buses during the holidays to reflect lower demand because schools, post-secondaries and many government offices close for the holiday season. Typically, these service reductions have minimal impact for most people. But NAIT students catching a bus to class on Wednesday without checking holiday route changes may have been annoyed to discover that this year the service reduction lasted until Jan. 6, despite NAIT students returning to class on Jan. 4.
“A tremendous amount of planning goes into providing transit service across the city, including to major destinations like post-secondary institutions,” said Jennifer Laraway on behalf of ETS.
“We rely heavily on the information that is made available to us in order to balance taxpayer dollars with service demand. Each bus and route tracks ridership so we can make informed decisions about the level of service we provide.”
NAITSA Advocacy Director Jason Roth states that “[ETS] informed us of their holiday service levels. We told them that they had the return date at NAIT wrong and that those levels would be inadequate. They said they believed they could manage. We disagreed.”
Laraway defended the service, stating that “during the first week of the new year, the Metro Line continued to provide regularly scheduled service (every 15 minutes). Specific to NAIT, the Route 8 and 15 still provide frequent service while the Route 97 will be restored on Monday” and that “there has been considerably less travel demand to both NAIT and MacEwan University (which are served by some of the same bus routes and the Metro Line), this last week – including the two days NAIT has returned to session.”
While the LRT and routes 8 and 15 are popular choices for students taking transit to campus, this appears to neglect the need for routes to transfer and connect to these main lines. Considering approximately 80 routes are affected by reduced frequency or cancellation during the 11-day period of reduced service, it’s likely that delays were caused by the increased challenge of getting to the main lines.
“Customer feedback does influence how we plan for service,” Laraway said. “If we can make adjustments within our allocated resources (including budget, other needs in the city, etc.), we certainly take those into consideration.
“Students are encouraged to call 311 or complete a feedback form found under the Customer Service section of takeETS. com.”
She said that the information they depend on is a combination of their own data collection and the session information provided from groups like NAIT. It can be difficult to get the detailed information they need to develop their plans but they strive to continue to work together as best as they can to provide the best service possible.
She added that students should considering downloading and using the Transit App or any of the Real Time tools for mobile that are available on takeETS.com; “all buses in the city are now tracked in real time so people can see exactly when the next bus is coming and not get stuck waiting in the cold at a bus stop. The tools tell customers if a bus is running early, late or on time – it might help when we have service adjustments due to post-secondary breaks.”
– Danielle S. Fuechtmann, Editor-in-Chief