Long-suffering residents of southeast Calgary will soon get some long-awaited transit relief.
With a new Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line set to strike as deep as McKenzie Towne by the fall, there will only be one thing missing to spoil the party.
A pair of park and ride lots, allowing BRT users the luxury of more than 1,000 parking stalls to make the service more accessible, won’t be ready by the time the service rolls out Aug. 31.
Neil McKendrick, the city’s manager of transit planning, said the plan had always been to launch the southeast BRT with accompanying lots in an effort to attract more users right off the hop.
But expected provincial funding was delayed, meaning it could be months after the service launches before those park and ride lots are available.
“We’re kind of disappointed about that but we’re too far down the road to delay the introduction of the service,” McKendrick said.
The new BRT service will feature 12 pairs of stops — not unlike C-Train stations — that act as mass loading zones for the service that, during peak hours, will have a shuttle every five to 10 minutes.
It will also act as a placeholder for the eventual southeast LRT line, as soon as the city can beg, borrow or steal the expected $2 billion required for the mega-project.
Ald. Ric McIver, whose ward covers many of those under-served southeast communities, believes the lack of park and ride lots could hamper ridership for the initial launch, but is convinced transit officials will remedy the situation.
“It’s a given you’ll lose some customer base but, unfortunately, it can’t be done any faster,” he said.
“But the good news is the BRT is going to be there and people will use it.”