Calgary, Chestermere to discuss linking cities with public transit

Calgary and the neighbouring City of Chestermere will start talking next month about a regional transit service.

Nenshi says bus connection could benefit both cities

Calgary and the neighbouring City of Chestermere will start talking next month about a regional transit service. (Julie Debeljak/CBC)

Calgary and the neighbouring city of Chestermere will start talking next month about a regional transit service — since the two cities share a common border.

A transit service would likely run along 17th Avenue Southeast which becomes Chestermere Boulevard as you travel eastward.

Having a bus option would mean Chestermere residents would have another way to get to Calgary where many local residents work.

Mayor Naheed Nenshi said the transit option could also reduce the number of vehicles coming into Calgary which would save it money in the long run.

"As our neighbours on our boundaries grow, we don't want to be stuck with all the costs of building out roads and interchanges and improvements so we want to try and nip that in the bud as best we can," said Nenshi.

Details to be sorted

Numerous issues would have to be worked out by the municipalities including types of service, fares, hours of operation and routing.

Chestermere's council is interested in an express route with several stops in Chestermere which would take riders to downtown Calgary.

Another option it wants to explore is possibly extending Calgary Transit's Max Purple bus rapid transit service during peak hours.

A report done for the City of Chestermere included four options for service with potential annual cost estimates.

  • extension of Max Purple line                   $1.5 million - $2 million
  • peak period service on Max Purple         $120,000-165,000
  • local bus route to East Hills in Calgary    $120,000-350,000
  • express route to downtown Calgary        $130,000-350,000

Nenshi wants more detail on how the Max Purple extension could possibly cost as much a $2 million a year.

"That's weird," said Nenshi. "We haven't had a chance at the City of Calgary administration to vet those numbers. They don't pass the smell test for me at this point."

Service has to work for both cities

The mayor said cooperating on a transit service would be part of being a good neighbour.

But such a service could not cost Calgary taxpayers money.

Officials with both cities plan to meet in early October to discuss regional transit.

Council approval would be required for Calgary Transit to be involved in any new service outside the municipal boundary.


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