LETHBRIDGE: More than $4 million in changes are on the way for Lethbridge public transit by the end of the year. City council has approved the rollout of five new hybrid city buses and an automated fare system. Ald. Liz Iwaskiw, who sponsored the resolution at Monday's council meeting, explained some of the benefits. "This is a pretty exciting proposal actually," she said. "It will enable Lethbridge transit to collect data on ridership which would be used to guide system improvements and better plan for the future. It also enhances cash management and cash handling processes."
The City hopes new "smart card" technology will help increase ridership and boost cash return, for a service that's been struggling lately. The oft-repeated statistic, mentioned once more by Mayor Raijko Dodic during Monday's meeting, is that Lethbridge's transit system is about 70 per cent subsidized by the City. While staff are realistic about how quickly they can turn that around, improvements like the automated fare system are part of an ongoing drive to make the city transit more popular. In addition to the real need for transit improvements, money for the $1 million fare collection system is already available - from the provincial government and a pot of money council previously set aside for the purpose.
Council support to buy the five new hybrid buses was also high. Ald. Jeff Carlson erupted into spontaneous applause when Iwaskiw introduced the resolution in council chambers. The new buses will make Lethbridge's fleet 86 per cent accessible. Plus, their $3 million price tag is also already paid for. "Just like the automated fare system, this money won't be coming out of our pockets," said Iwaskiw. "There was already funding available from the provincial green transit program, and also from the Capital Improvement Program." Both transit improvements are expected to be introduced by December 2011.
Posted on Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 12/8/2013 11:31:46 AM
Source: Marion Warnica, Country 95 News - photo by Country 95 News