Edmonton

Metro LRT: NAIT students say they are blindsided by delays

After nearly two years of delays, the LRT line to NAIT is opening. But now students say they were kept in the dark about the problems the line will have when the trains do start running.

Student association says they learned about expected delays from media, not from city

A train runs along the Metro line track earlier this year as a test. The line opens, albeit at reduced frequency, Sunday. (Michelle Bellefontaine/CBC )

After nearly two years of delays and confusion, NAIT students will finally be able to ride the new Metro LRT to campus.

However, the school's student association says the city has kept it in the dark about problems the system will have when it partially opens Sunday.

"Right now it looks like it will have a negative impact on a lot of the students regarding their travel schedule in the mornings and afternoons," said Justin Nand, president of the NAIT Student Association.

Earlier this week, the city announced that when the line starts running, it could cause traffic delays of up to 16 minutes along Princess Elizabeth Avenue where the trains cross the road.

Nand says the city hasn't told them what the delays will mean for students riding the train. In fact, he said they didn't know anything about the problems until city council told reporters on Wednesday.

"Hearing about it four days prior to the opening is very disappointed," Nand said.

"We're trying to figure out why we got this news from the media and not directly to the stakeholders."

He said the surprise is just another frustration for NAIT students, who were originally told the line would open 16 months ago.

The association is doing everything it can to urge students to leave plenty of time for travel, but still worries that the surprise delays will mean a lot of people late for class.

The delays won't just affect students taking the train: those that drive into campus will obviously face the same issues, as will those who take other forms of public transit.

St. Albert Transit says its buses will also be delayed by the trains, although director Bob MacDonald says they will do their best to adapt to the gridlock.

"This situation is unique. And we're going to deal with it on our own merits," he said.

"We'll see how it goes and react from there."

When the Metro LRT line opens tomorrow, it will do so on a reduced frequency, due to problems with the signalling system.

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