Yesterday morning, I co-presented a presentation to Edmonton City Council’s Transportation & Public Works Committee on the hot issue of 24-hour/late-night transit service in Edmonton. The debate over late-night expanded transit service has drawn attention in the media and in interesting places like Facebook.com’s “Expand Edmonton’s Transit Service to 24 hours!” group (which now has over 2 700 members).
In addition to myself and my fellow co-presenter, nine presenters including Bryan Saunders, the Transit Riders’ Union of Edmonton, the Old Strathcona Business Association, and NAITSA presented their support of expanded transit service (you can take a look at the Transit Riders’ Union of Edmonton presentation here).
With ten City Councillors in attendance at the committee meeting (including committee members Bryan Anderson, Ben Henderson, Ed Gibbons, Kim Krushell, and Councillors Don Iveson, Amarjeet Sohi, Tony Caterina, Karen Leibovici, Dave Thiele, and Jane Batty) it is clear that Edmonton City Councillors are taking this issue seriously.
Here’s part of the presentation that I co-presented…
Making Edmonton a more student- and youth-friendly city through late-night public transit
Presentation to Edmonton City Council Transportation & Public Works Committee (January 22, 2008)
With over 160 000 post-secondary students (including over 60 000 full time post secondary students) living in Edmonton attending NAIT, Grant MacEwan College, the University of Alberta and other institutions, the addition of late-night transit service would help make Edmonton a more student and youth-friendly city.
A large number of students already depend on ETS for their transportation to and from work, home, and school. With the introduction of the Universal Bus Pass in September 2007 for students at Grant MacEwan College and the University of Alberta, we can only expect that as the U-Pass program continues, more students will depend on public transit for their transportation needs.
Because of cost, many students don’t live in the University-area or within walking distance of the U of A. Students working late-night part-time jobs in the restaurant/hospitality industry as well as students working in industrial parks would benefit from late-night transit. Students in the Faculties of Nursing and Medicine who are completing late-night residencies and training in hospitals and medical centers across Edmonton would also benefit from late-night transit. As many students don’t own or have access to cars and because of the rising cost of post-secondary education, the option of taking a $15, $25, or $40 cab-ride is an expensive luxury for many students.
With the recent addition of 24-hour study space in the Students’ Union Building on the University of Alberta North Campus, the addition of late-night transit routes would help students access this space later at night throughout the school year and exam periods without having to worry how to get back to their side of the city.
As of 9:16 pm on Monday, January 21, 2008, the group “Expand Edmonton’s Transit Service to 24 hours!” on the popular online social networking site Facebook.com had 2,535 members. This highlights the wide-interest that the prospect of late-night or 24-hour transit has sparked among students and young Edmontonians.
We propose keeping main routes running for Late-night service as well as late-night LRT service on a half-hourly schedule. The completion of the south track of the LRT to Southgate Mall and Century Park LRT stations will open up the option of late night transit to students living in the south end. Transit service changes such as these will help make Edmonton a more student and youth-friendly city.
The debate on 24-hour/late-night public transit in Edmonton will be continued at the June 10, 2008 meeting of the Transportation & Public Works Committee. If you support the idea of 24-hour/late-night public transit in Edmonton, contact Mayor Stephen Mandel and your City Councillors to let them know!
As Edmonton grows, these types of public transit questions are only going to become more critical to making Edmonton a smarter and more efficient city.