Ask-A-Candidate Question 8

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The transit service that was offered by Town of Morinville, through contract with the City of St. Albert was cancelled in the spring due to low ridership. This lack of ridership may have been due to lack of promotion of the service as well as possible inconvenient times of the service being offered, once early in the morning and once late afternoon. What are your thoughts on this service being re-established and the possibility of offering more convenient times that will accommodate not only business people, but university/college students and youth travelling to the city for activities or employment?

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  1. PLEASE NOTE – Only Candidates may post comments to this posting. welcomes reader comments on our articles, but we wish to keep these particular segments open for candidates alone so that readers do not have to separate who is and is not vying for their vote.

  2. Thank you for your comments and concerns:

    The transfer bus service from Morinville to St. Albert has been an issue with Council for many years, for the reason just as you stated: “a lack of ridership” and the cost of running it.

    98% of the transits systems in the world are subside in one form or another. There might be 2% that are self efficiency and don’t require extra public funds. Subsiding a required service that is used by many; then I can see a 20/30% would sound reasonable to subside but, 99% is not being a good guardian of the community funds.

    In stating that; Morinville was and is still part of the 98% group. The cost compared to the ridership to say the truth was not acceptable. The funding of this service for the 1 to 8 passengers a day was not feasible to continue.

    You may be right, some of the problems might be:

    – That the general public was not fully aware of this service
    – We had a contract with St. Albert (large bus, big buck)
    – Timing of the service being offer
    – I am sure there are others

    Do we need some sort of transit system from Morinville to St. Albert? Yes, however what:

    – Town own bus, minivan, etc
    – More uses of the Community Bus
    – Park and Ride system
    – Share a Ride system

    As you can see this is not a simple solution, however; it is one that we (Council) will be sitting with administration and discussing this issue and hopefully finding something for our needed residents.

    Once again thank you, Joseph Trapani

  3. I was also surprised when I heard about the decision to end the partnership with St. Albert Transit. However, after learning the ridership statistics, it did make sense at the time. It is not fiscally responsible or environmentally friendly to be operating a transit system that is so poorly used. There is an opportunity to look at other forms of transit to St. Albert as I do feel that there is a need by residents for a service like that. I agree that operating at other times may be a way to allow youth or seniors to access more job opportunities, coordinate transportation to the University or to get to important medical appointments. If elected, I would be willing to revisit this issue and to explore any other transit opportunities that would present themselves. It is also important for our community members to be vocal and to communicate with the town to let them know that there is a need for this service and that it should be considered a priority for council to consider.

  4. Our daughter took the Morinville to St. Albert commuter bus every day to get to and from University for both her Bachelor and Masters degrees. Without this service she would likely have moved to Edmonton several years ago.

    Parents and high school students have told me that Council and Town adnministration need to identify alternatives for workers and students who want to use public tansit to have an option to travel to and from Morinville.

    One of the priority items for the Capital Region Board (and its 25 municipalities) is to develop a regional public transit system. There are 6 communities which have public transit links to Edmonton. Morinville needs to work with our neighboring communities on a similar solution in conjunction with the Capital Region Board.

    Many residents may not be aware, but St. Albert Transit provides express bus service to NAIT, Grant MacEwan University,University of Alberta, West Edmonton Mall and various downtown Edmonton locations. These buses run everyday and are busy enough to warrant, in most cases, 10 minutes transit stop frequencies.

    Bottom line: Council needs to work with Morinville residents to look at a better means to assist our university student and worker commutes.

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