This article was originally published in Okotoks Online on December 14, 2021.
Okotoks town council has approved expanded services for the town’s transit system.
The changes come as part of the town’s first four-year budget.
Starting in January 2022, Okotoks transit services will be available seven days a week, and will now run from 5:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. on weekdays, offering an extra half hour of service.
They’ll also be operating during stat holidays, with the exception of Christmas.
On weekends and stat holidays, it’ll run from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
A cost increase to $3.25 per single trip ride will be instituted, though discounts are available when buying rides in bulk.
Transit specialist David Gardner says demand remains high, despite the ongoing pandemic.
“Okotoks is part of CUTA, which is the Canadian Urban Transit Association, and what I hear from transit operators all over Alberta and the western prairies is that demand is still significantly lower than pre-pandemic levels. We certainly have a very high level of service, and it definitely gives users comfort in taking transit.”
Locally, usage has increased significantly year over year.
“Our expectation is about 40,000 passengers by the end of 2021 for the year, and that’s up from 27,401 in 2020. We’re budgeting for about 50,000 passengers in 2022, and we could do more than that.”
The move, according to Gardner, brings the town’s transit service one step closer to the vision of a fully comprehensive and accessible system.
“Ultimately, we want to be able to provide a transit service every day of the week. That’s really what a transit service should be. People want to use the service on different days of the week for different purposes, so it’s just sort of a natural step forward for transit.”