It’s not a new southeast LRT line but city officials hope a new bus rapid transit (BRT) system will help fill a gaping transportation void.
The city will launch its $30-million BRT route from McKenzie Towne to the downtown core on Monday, pushing forward early despite not having all its funding in place for a pair of park and ride lots and shelters at its dozen hubs.
Calgary Transit spokeswoman Theresa Keddy said planners pushed ahead with the new service while federal cash was still outstanding to help provide better service to a quadrant of the city that is transit-starved.
“We wanted to start the BRT even though we haven’t secured all of the money yet,” she said.
“These people needed this service and to wait for everything to be completed would have just taken longer.”
The new route, which loosely mirrors where a future southeast LRT line would be constructed, will provide 118 trips every weekday with buses 10 minutes apart during peak hours and 20 minute interval during slower periods.
Ald. Ric McIver, who will be on the first BRT bus at 5 a.m. on Monday, said the city’s long suffering southeast will finally get some transit relief. “It’s been severely underserved in that part of the city for a number of years and this is really playing catch up,” he said.
The southeast LRT is still at least a decade away and already comes with an estimated $2-billion price tag.