More Buses, Better Service for Rural Albertans

Albertans living along the Medicine Hat/Lethbridge Highway 3 corridor and in Red Deer County will have better access to public transportation as the Government of Alberta expands a pilot program for new bus lines.

Mayor Ted Clugston, Beth Lewis, Premier Notley, MLA Wanner and Al Kemmere celebrate provincial funding of new rural bus pilot projects.

To better connect rural Albertans to services, jobs, family and friends, the Government of Alberta is investing $700,000 in a new Medicine Hat/Lethbridge shuttle bus project that will connect 12 communities across the region, providing public transportation to 27,700 people who currently have no transit access.

In addition, a new bus route in Red Deer County – connecting the City of Red Deer with Springbrook, Penhold and Innisfail – is also receiving $700,000 from the province to offer service for 11,000 local residents who currently have no public transportation.

“Our government knows viable rural transit is what connects many Albertans to work, school, vital health care, family and friends. That’s why our Rural Transportation Pilot Project is so important. We’ve worked closely with regional governments to get this investment right, and I am so pleased to announce these new transit options to connect Albertans across our province.”

~Rachel Notley, Premier

More than 200,000 people live in the two regions being served by the new bus projects. The two new bus routes are part of the government’s Rural Transportation Pilot Program, designed to improve public transportation services between Alberta’s mid-sized urban centres and their surrounding communities.

“Support for this new service means residents from across the Medicine Hat and Lethbridge regions will again be able to travel between our major centres and the smaller towns that are the backbone of this area. We worked with leaders from across the regions because we know how critical it is for citizens to have access to public transit to get them where they need to go.”

~Ted Clugston, mayor of Medicine Hat

“I am proud that, as leaders in our community, we were able to be innovative and collaborate with our neighbours to the east to address a lack of public transportation between the communities along this busy route. Today’s announcement is a welcome opportunity to pilot a project that will serve our residents and help us to plan for the future.”

~Chris Spearman, mayor of Lethbridge

“Regional transit funding will create even greater links between our communities, and will go a long way toward improved mobility for our residents. Being able to travel efficiently and safely is essential for our residents’ quality of life and the overall well-being of our connected communities.”

~Jim Wood, mayor of Red Deer County

“Members of the Rural Municipalities of Alberta and our neighbouring communities who are eligible for this program are happy to hear that the Government of Alberta is putting dollars to these pilot programs that may work to find a solution to support our public transportation needs, especially given the recent announcement made by Greyhound. More now than ever, our communities need access to transit options to connect them with education, health care, jobs and families.”

~Al Kemmere, president, Rural Municipalities of Alberta

“This new pilot bus shuttle will be a great service for students at all three post-secondary schools in our two major cities and across the region. Many students and others working in the cities struggle to get home to visit family and friends because they don’t have vehicles. Access to buses through this service means more freedom and mobility, which is very welcomed.”

~Beth Lewis, president, Medicine Hat College Students’ Association

Quick facts

  • Nearly 40,000 people who didn’t have transit service before will now have access through the two new pilot projects in the Medicine Hat/Lethbridge region and Red Deer County.
  • The southern bus will stop in Redcliff, Seven Persons, Bow Island, Burdett, Grassy Lake, Purple Springs, Taber, Barnwell, Cranford and Coaldale.
  • The Red Deer County bus will stop in the City of Red Deer, Springbrook, Penhold and Innisfail.
  • Previous projects approved under the pilot program include:
    • A regular bus shuttle service between Camrose and Edmonton.
    • A regional transit service that connects Sexsmith, Clairmont, Wembley, Beaverlodge and Hythe with the City of Grande Prairie’s existing transit system.

The province will use information from the pilot program to consider its ongoing approach to supporting rural public transportation. The pilot is designed to allow eligible municipalities to identify and implement projects that best meet the unique needs of their communities.