After the announcement Greyhound was suspending service to Western Canada, the Province of Alberta has been looking into expanding rural transportation.
The Government of Alberta is investing $1,400,000 in new bus routes and shuttle services for rural Albertans with the Rural Transportation Pilot Project, which eligible municipalities have to apply to be a part of.
The Province is investing in two services for Albertan, one in Central Alberta and one in the Southeast, at a cost of $700,000 each.
A new bus route will connect around 11,000 residents in Red Deer County. The services will connect the City of Red Deer with Springbrook, Penhold and Innisfail.
The Central Albertan who would access this new bus service currently do not have access to public transportation.
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says it is important to keep transportation viable and present for the rural residents in the province.
“Our government knows viable rural transit is what connects many Albertans to work, school, vital health care, family and friends,” Motley said. “We’ve worked closely with regional governments to get this investment right, and I am so pleased to announce these new transit options to connect Albertans across our province.”
Along with the bus route investment in Central Alberta, the Province is creating a shuttle program for the Medicine Hat-Lethbridge area.
According to a press release from the Government of Alberta, the new shuttle will connect to 12 different communities and benefit around 27,700 residents.
the Rural Transportation Pilot Program is designed to “improve public transportation services between Alberta’s mid-sized urban centres and their surrounding communities.”
Mayor of Red Deer County, Jim Wood, says the bus routes will have a great impact of the residents of Central Alberta, specifically in Red Deer County.
“Regional transit funding will create even greater links between our communities, and will go a long way toward improved mobility for our residents,” said Wood.
“Being able to travel efficiently and safely is essential for our residents’ quality of life and the overall well-being of our connected communities.”
The government estimates there are more than 200,000 people living in the areas where the new bus services is being implemented.
The new service will directly impact around 40,000 people who didn’t have trust service, according to the Alberta Government.
Information gathered from the pilot program will help the government approach further public rural transportation.