Calgary's new MAX rapid transit bus lines perplex some riders

The city's three new MAX lines and changes to 35 other routes represent the biggest modification to the city's transit network in its history.

The launch is the biggest change to Calgary's transit network in its history

Calgary's new MAX bus rapid transit routes confused some riders on Monday. (Kate Adach/CBC)

Service for Calgary's new MAX rapid transit bus lines began Monday. The three new MAX lines and changes to 35 other routes represent the biggest modification to the city's transit network in its history.

The major launch saw a few hiccups, with some riders confused as to how to reach their destinations and delays on some of the routes.

"Change is always better. But this is my first experience, I didn't know. Next time I'll check everything," said Elizabeth Poovathanath, who spent half an hour trying to get on the right bus, after not realizing her route had changed.

"I didn't know where the station was, the bus stop … I don't know what's going on," said a frustrated David Barrios, who was running late for a meeting at the University of Calgary.

Calgary's three new MAX rapid transit bus lines launched Monday. (Calgary Transit)

Barrios said there should be more information and maps posted at the new stops.

The three new MAX routes serve the following areas:

  • MAX Purple: Inglewood, downtown, International Avenue, and Forest Lawn in central and southeast Calgary.
  • MAX Teal: Mount Royal University, Rockyview hospital, Douglas Glen Park 'n' Ride, and Westbrook and Heritage C-Train stations in southwest Calgary.
  • MAX Orange: Foothills hospital, University of Calgary, SAIT, Peter Lougheed Centre, Genesis Centre, Brentwood and Saddletowne stations in north Calgary.

A fourth MAX route in southwest Calgary is under construction and will launch in 2019.

On social media, some lauded Calgary Transit for new, shorter commutes.

Others ranted that they no longer had easy connections between work and home, and pointed to delays of more than 30 minutes on the new routes at rush hour — which are supposed to run every 12 to 18 minutes during peak times.

Nikhil Lobo with Calgary Transit said commutes will get easier in the days to come.

"It's just about people getting used to some of those changes," said Lobo.

"Go on the website, go on Twitter, go on the Calgary Transit app, and if you have any further questions you can also call our call centre at 403-262-1000 to get more information."

Nikhil Lobo with Calgary Transit is encouraging riders to go to the website or on Twitter if they have any questions about the new routes. (Kate Adach/CBC)

Funds from the municipal, provincial and federal governments all contributed to the new bus lines, with a total investment of $304 million.

The bus lines serve more than 320,000 Calgarians, and include new heated shelters and larger platforms, as well as dedicated bus-only lanes to bypass traffic.

​​With files from Kate Adach


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