Calgary Transit preps to roll out newest MAX rapid transit bus line

The newest addition to Calgary Transit's MAX rapid transit bus line won't come into effect for another month, but riders set to be affected by the change got an early look on Wednesday.

But some riders, including those at Mount Royal University, are concerned

Calgary Transit has been operating a number of MAX bus rapid transit routes, including MAX Orange, left, since November 2018. Mount Royal University students learned about the newest addition, MAX Yellow, on Wednesday. (Mike Symington/CBC)

The newest addition to Calgary Transit's MAX rapid transit bus line won't come into effect for another month, but riders set to be affected by the change got an early look on Wednesday.

MAX Yellow will begin service on Dec. 23, according to the city, and will serve southwest areas of the city, including Mount Royal University, Southland Leisure Centre and Rockyview General Hospital.

Current bus routes and schedules will be affected by the introduction of MAX Yellow, something that concerned some at Mount Royal on Wednesday.

"It made me feel like Calgary Transit doesn't care about Mount Royal students," said Monica Calderon, a student at the school and a daily rider of the transit service. "We don't have a train, so it's already hard for us to get here. Now, they're trying to get rid of the two transit buses that we do have."

Amanda Bradley from Calgary Transit said planners with the service anticipated that the changes wouldn't satisfy every rider.

"We try to make changes to have the best impact, and we know that not everyone is going to be happy," Bradley said. "Taking the stop away from inside of Mount Royal does cause a little bit of extra walking, but we do believe, in most cases, the route changes will be a benefit to our customers."

The route ahead

Service for the new route will begin in the southwest community of Woodbine and travel into downtown, making a stop near Mount Royal along the way.

It's the final piece of the puzzle as Calgary Transit seeks to establish rapid transit lines in all four quadrants of Calgary. Three other MAX lines — Purple, Teal and Orange — began service in November 2018.

Calgary's newest rapid transit line, MAX Yellow, will launch in December. (Calgary Transit)

Bradley said the MAX bus lines are a more direct and comfortable way to get around the city.

"The routes are more efficient, they take a little bit less time," she said. "Instead of having to take a bus to a train station and take a train to another bus, you now take them to our MAX stations and take more direct routes from there."

MAX lines are intended to arrive more frequently and make fewer stops. Calgary Transit says shelters are heated and come equipped with larger platforms, improved lighting and increased security.

Pricing for MAX lines is the same as regular bus and CTrain fares.

'Everything's changing'

Some riders, including third-year Mount Royal student Emily Wong, said the new maps throw her entire commute into flux.

"One of the main routes I take to my apartment and to my work in the core is changing," she said. "Everything's changing, I don't know for the better or the worse, but it's going to be a huge adjustment. It's every single bus that I take."

Emily Wong, a third year student at Mount Royal University, said she hopes Calgary Transit will listen to feedback from riders if the new changes don't function as anticipated. (Mike Symington/CBC)

Though Wong wasn't sure exactly what her new commute would look like, she said she hoped Calgary Transit would be open to feedback.

"I would hope that if enough people are saying, 'Hey, this doesn't work for me, you have completely mixed up my whole schedule,' that it would change," she said. "Because it is a public service."

Calgary Transit said it is confident riders will be pleased with the new changes, but would monitor feedback over the coming months.

"Especially with changes this large, we'll be prioritizing and monitoring them for the entire year. So they'll stay in place for an entire year, and we'll get an idea for how it's working for customers," Bradley said. "We can make minor adjustments to frequency right now, but after a year or so, if it isn't working, we can make minor adjustments."

With files from Elissa Carpenter


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