A 24-hour bus service is ten years overdue, says the Old Strathcona Business Association, but a council committee won’t be giving its seal of approval until at least this summer.
Councillors say talks on extending services or bringing in a 24-hour transit service will have to sit in the back of the bus until June 10 when a review of the entire Edmonton Transit System is completed.
"We, as councillors, realized we need to look at the whole picture," said Coun. Kim Krushell. "It doesn’t make sense to tell citizens that we are going to extend service without looking at what our city should be when it comes to transit."
Krushell says the review will also look at the social costs of the city implementing a 24-hour bus service.
A city report released last week estimated that 24-hour service will cost $10.1 million to $14.9 million a year for more security, staff and maintenance.
The 24-hour bus service could carry up to 2,000 riders daily, says the report.
Shirley Lowe, an executive director with the Old Strathcona Business Association, says the city should have jumped onboard for a 24-hour service 10 years ago given the large amount of people who live in Edmonton that are under the age of 28.
"Everything that we’ve seen at 2 a.m. in the morning in Strathcona, West Edmonton, or downtown is a result of a lot of people going out at the same time at a later time," said Lowe.
More businesses are operating into late hours of the night, she says, and getting a transit service for late-night workers is essential to the city’s economy.
Krushell said the earliest transit riders could enjoy expanded services is in 2009.