Gateway Gazette

Traffic relief for Calgary Region commuters arrives next year

Calgary Regional Partnership announces new On-It Regional Transit Service

ON-IT_logoWith all the welcome benefits of community growth in our region, there are bound to be challenges as well.

Commuting is one of these challenges: congestion has spread over Calgary’s expanding region, and the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP) is determined to face this issue with a plan for smart growth.

This relief to commuters will also have a real financial impact. Commuting congestion isn’t just a quality of life issue—it has a real economic impact, as well.

The cost of congestion in Canada is estimated in the billions of dollars per year. With the region expected to grow to three million people by 2076, a regional public transit service is critical to successfully growing the region.

Regional transit is fundamental to the development of a prosperous region, and a plays a huge part in lowering commuting stress and elevating home and workplace happiness.

“A drive that used to take me under an hour has been creeping closer to an hour or more due to having more vehicles on the road. As we continue to grow, traffic congestion is a big problem” says Doug Windover, an HR Specialist working in downtown Calgary and living in Okotoks, AB., who has been doing the same commute for 2 years.  “Not to mention that winter weather adds to that each way. It’s becomes a strenuous, long drive.”

Where will the On-It Regional Transit Service be available?

The Calgary Regional Partnership will launch the On-It Regional Transit System through a pilot service over two years, within Calgary’s sub-regions: Nanton, High River, Black Diamond, Turner Valley and Okotoks.

The service will head to the Somerset Bridlewood LRT Station in Calgary every morning, with return trips in the evening.

Benefits of regional collaboration

All five participating municipalities are members of the Calgary Regional Partnership.

The Calgary Regional Partnership, received a unanimous Board approval from 14 of their member municipalities on September 18, 2015, which allows them to carry out the 2-year pilot project.

The five municipal councils in the pilot service will be ratifying the decision in October.

“With the growing number of families in our province, a collaborative approach to service delivery is needed now and more than ever. The pilot program is a great example of how municipalities can work together to build a more modern, efficient and sustainable Alberta,” states Deron Bilous, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Service Alberta.

Watch how On-It will allow residents of this Region to prosper in more ways than one. 

Watch pilot municipalities talk about On-It

Pilot municipalities talk about working together, long term benefits and what the future holds for Calgary Regional transit.

Listen to the individual municipalities

Okotoks Mayor Bill Robertson:

https://soundcloud.com/calgaryregion/okotoks-mayor-bill-robertson

Nanton Mayor Rick Everett:

https://soundcloud.com/calgaryregion/rick-everett-audio

High River Councillor Don Moore:

https://soundcloud.com/calgaryregion/don-moore-audio

Black Diamond Councillor Michel Jackson:

https://soundcloud.com/calgaryregion/michel-jackson-audio

Turner Valley Councillor Donna Fluter:

https://soundcloud.com/calgaryregion/donna-fluter-audio

CRP Executive Director Colleen Shepherd:

https://soundcloud.com/calgaryregion/crp-executive-director-colleen-shepherd-describing-the-new-calgary-regional-transit-system-on-it

Commuting costs

The rising population directly impacts the increased number of vehicles on the road.

Commuting by personal vehicles costs money and time, and negatively impacts the environment.

Taking express and efficient transit also allows workers to make the most of their time: they can multi-task or relax while on the bus, and the hassles of driving and parking in the city are no longer an issue.

How much will it cost?

The Calgary Regional Partnership has committed to base subsidy of the program and will count on ridership revenues to help off-set the costs.

The future of On-It: A complete mobility system

The CRP’s two-year transit pilot project is providing regional transit service. Initially, this project is geared towards the working commuter in Calgary’s southern regions.

If the pilot is successful, CRP would look to expand service and grow to include even more of the region.

Beyond the pilot, and beyond even the success of On-It Regional Transit, CRP has bigger plans for On-It. And what’s more significant than creating regional transit?

Creating a complete mobility system.

The system helps residents move around the Region by connecting bike lanes and pedestrian pathways to regional transit hubs.

How can I find out more?

For those seeking a live information session, the pilot communities will be hosting information sessions to discuss the On-It regional transit service over the course of the next two months.

For those who want to be involved at this early stage, the CRP will be launching a survey to collect information to enhance this service, and encourages members to participate.

More information will be available to the public over the next couple of months so stay tuned.

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