Start airport transit by spring: report
Last Updated: Thursday, November 12, 2009 | 8:23 PM MT
Under the proposal, people would be able to take city buses as well as shuttles and taxis to and from Edmonton International Airport. (CBC)City buses could connect the LRT and Edmonton International Airport as early as next spring under a project proposed by a transit advisory committee.
Under the 18-month "experimental project" from the Edmonton Transit System Advisory Board, transit buses would run between the airport in Leduc to the new Century Park LRT station every 30 minutes from 5:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., at a cost of $2.50 each way.
"ETSAB's research indicates that with the extension of LRT to Century Park, implementation of airport transit service is now practical, economical, and likely to be very successful," the report says.
"The data predicts ridership levels that will recover a significant portion, if not all of associated operational costs."
According to the report, the total cost of the service is estimated to be $1.97 million, but the committee believes it could eventually attract the ridership cover most, if not all, of its costs.
Airport workers would use buses
In a survey done by airport staff in October, 53 per cent of the 600 passengers questioned said they would use the service if offered. The 4,500 people who work at the airport weren't part of the survey, and this represents another group of people who would likely use the buses, the report says.
Currently, people who want to get to the airport need to take a taxi, get a ride from family or friends, or pay $15 each way for the shuttle service that runs from city hotels.
The proposal will be discussed Tuesday by councillors on the city's transportation and public works committee. It already has the support of Coun. Don Iveson.
"It's an embarrassment to me and to our city that we can't offer a public transit connection for people who first of all work at the airport and second of all, travellers," he said.
The city's transportation manager, Bob Boutilier also likes the proposal, but says the province and other municipalities like Leduc and Nisku, will have to help with costs.
"There is a risk that you may get some initial pickup on the ridership but will it be there all 12 months of the year?" he asked. "Don't mind doing the experiment for a year, but someone's going to have to back it with some financial support."
The report also suggests the city look to Edmonton Airports to pay for part of the service out of its airport improvement fees, as it would lessen the need to expand its parking facilities.
While the bus service is part of a larger regional plan, Edmonton needn't wait for buy-in from the other municipalities to go ahead, the report says. "As a community, we should not wait."
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