Central Albertans will be better connected thanks to the launch of the 2A South Transit service Jan. 14th. Mark Weber/Red Deer Express

2A South Regional Transit service launched this week

Service connects Innisfail, Penhold, Springbrook and Red Deer

Central Albertans will be better connected thanks to the launch of the 2A South Transit service.

The bus connects Red Deer, Springbrook, Penhold and Innisfail, making several stops in each community daily.

There are four stops in Innisfail, six in Penhold and 10 in Springbrook. The bus then carries on to Bower Place where passengers can transfer onto Red Deer Transit to access all parts of the City.

Over the past couple of years, the Province has been exploring ways of bolstering regional transportation, said George Penny, manager of Red Deer Transit. “They went out into the communities and said, would you be willing to try and work on some things to try and increase regional transportation?

“The Government came forward with this pilot project, and said okay, we’ll fund it for two years,” he explained. “Two years is a good time frame, because then you can increase ridership and see whether or not the service will continue forward,” he said.

“I think this will be very successful. We run to Red Deer County now, and we’ve always been asked about bus service out to Penhold and Innisfail. I think this is a great opportunity to try that and it’s been a great collaboration between all of the communities,” he added. “The good thing too is that it does connect to the regular Red Deer Transit system,” he said, adding that the whole round trip will run every 1.5 hours. Schedules are available on the bus, and eventually a Transit App will be introduced to help passengers further plan ahead, he said.

Mayor Tara Veer said a couple of years ago, Red Deer expanded its routes to include a north route to Blackfalds and Lacombe. “Today, we celebrate going to Penhold and Innisfail and extending the line to the south, partnering with those communities and Red Deer County as well.

“It helps make the City Transit system more sustainable, and it’s better for people in the region because people don’t live, work and recreate with borders,” she said.

“Anytime when municipalities can work together and come up with solutions for the greater good of the people we serve – this is an example of that,” she said. “It helps us elevate our level of service to the people of Red Deer and the region,” she said.

Mike Yargeau, Penhold Mayor, said that about six years ago a petition went through town regarding regional transit.

“Now with our regional partners and the provincial government, we’ve got something that works and now have regional transit in Penhold, so we are really excited about it,” he said. “It opens a whole new realm of opportunities for either young kids or seniors for example who want to get into town but maybe can’t drive or choose not to drive,” he said.

Jim Romane, Mayor of Innisfail, said that it’s exciting to build those connections to help support local residents.

“We see the potential for post-secondary in our community to have the opportunity to come to Red Deer and Red Deer College. There are also opportunities for high school cooperation as well,” he said.

“When this was proposed to us, it was an exciting thing. The communities have been talking for years about how can we get something like this going to a larger centre,” he said.

“It will be an interesting two-year test pilot.”

Rides are free from now through to Feb. 8th. After this introductory period, the fare is $5 per ride and children five and under can ride for free.

This also includes one transfer to connect with Red Deer Transit.

For more information, visit any of the municipalities’ web sites. Route maps can be downloaded online or picked up at community hubs in each municipality as well.

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