Edmonton warms to heated bus shelters

Imagine closing a door and turning on a heater at the bus stop. That could soon happen in Edmonton.

City staff commit to researching design and cost options for heated bus shelters

“The actual experience can be a little clunky and cumbersome and so our hope was to improve on that and create this really, really simple great interface and transit app,” said Jake Sion, director of strategy and development at Transit App. (CBC)

People who brave the Edmonton winters to take transit may soon wait in more warmth if the city goes ahead with heated bus shelters. 

Staff are looking into different designs, feasibility and costs of adding heaters to shelters as part of Edmonton’s winter strategy.

If they think it’s worth investing in the technology, they’ll convert two or three of the city’s 2,100 bus shelters to test it out.

Other cities like Winnipeg and Fort McMurray have built heated bus shelters - with mixed results.

Winnipeg has 120 of its 800 shelters equipped with 1,500 watt electric heaters under the seats and a door on the structure to keep the heat in. But Morley Calahan from Winnipeg Transit says people still complain. 

“When it’s extremely cold out we get a lot more complaints that people think the heaters aren’t working when in fact they are,” he said. “Because they’re not very effective people just think the heaters are not working.”

In Fort McMurray, there are 256 shelters with electronic doors and heaters that run for 10 minutes when transit users hit a button.

A city official told CBC the design holds in a little more warmth, but it’s still not comparable to stepping into your home or car.

Fort McMurray’s shelters cost an average of $93 per month to heat and between $46,000 to $87,000 each to install.