Successful start to operations
The new West LRT line has been well utilized since day one, even surpassing Calgary Transit's initial projections. Transit had expected approximately 25,000 trips in and out of downtown daily but ridership data collected to date has shown an average of about 28,000 trips in and out of downtown each day since the line opened. Transit further suspects that there are several thousand passengers per day that disembark at various stations along the west line rather than travelling downtown. They are now in the process of collecting ridership data to get a more complete picture of how Calgarians are utilizing the new west line.
Preliminary results from ridership counts and the collection of customer feedback are showing a significant increase in Transit use within the West LRT service area since the LRT began to operate. An increase of approximately 28 per cent over pre-LRT numbers within the first few months of service is, we hope, only the beginning of a continuing trend toward higher Transit use within the area. We hope to have a more accurate picture of Transit use in the West LRT area by fall of 2013, after Transit has been able to collect a higher volume of data.
Please see our ongoing review of West LRT feeder bus routes topic page for more information about ongoing public engagement that is happening in conjunction with ridership counts. This engagement, along with ridership data, will allow Transit to understand the service needs within the communities served and how the Transit system does and can reflect those needs.
Use of the Park and Ride locations at 69 Street Station and Sirocco Station has also surpassed expectations. In the first month of revenue service, all of the reserved stalls at both locations have been sold - a first for Calgary Transit! Typically, it can take up to a year before the maximum number of reserved stalls at a new LRT station are sold.
To date, Council has authorized Calgary Transit to designate up to 50% of the spaces at any park and ride location as “reserved” based on demand. In order to increase this proportion, Transit would require Council approval, which is not being considered at this time. One comment we frequently hear from residents is that they notice several unused reserved stalls as they search for a free stall in the morning. While it may be the case that many reserved spaces are empty when you are there looking for a space, one of the conveniences of reserving a space is that commuters no longer need to arrive at the parkade early enough to get a space, so many of these users will arrive later in the morning. CT does have a policy of allowing non-reserved users to park in reserved spaces that remain empty past 10:00 AM.
While it is important to provide options for customers to park at the LRT lots, the reserved parking system is an important source of cost-recovery for Calgary Transit and is a service that is valued by many users. By reserving a space for $70/month, transit users gain the convenience of knowing they will always have a space available. One consistent message that we receive from constituents is to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars. The current fare strategy and fare pricing policies are based on transit revenues from fares and a modest amount from other sources (such as reserved parking) to pay at least 55 per cent of transit operating costs, with the balance being a municipal contribution, mainly from property taxes.
To avoid the morning rush to find a parking space, we are encouraging users to utilize the newly implemented feeder bus system. The average feeder bus route is able to take customers from a nearby stop to the LRT Station in 10-15 minutes. High frequency during non-peak hours cannot be maintained on many routes, which is why customers are encouraged to pick up a paper schedule or visit www.calgarytransit.com to plan their trip ahead of time.
West LRT Opening and Celebration - December 8, 2012
On Saturday, December 8, The City of Calgary, along with thousands of Calgarians, celebrated the official opening of the West LRT. The new LRT line, which opened for service on Monday, December 10, spans from the west end of downtown to 69 Street SW, along more than eight kilometers of track.
The day started with speeches by Mayor Naheed Nenshi, Alderman John Mar, MP Rob Anders, Alberta Minister of Transportation Ric McIver and City of Calgary Director of Transportation Infrastructure Gordon Stewart at the new Downtown West-Kerby Station to mark the completion of the 7 Avenue Refurbishment Project. Eighty-five delegates from various orders of Government and community groups then boarded the CTrain, driven by Mayor Nenshi, and rode to Sirocco Station after the train broke through the 7 Avenue ribbon.
At Sirocco Station, Director of Transit Doug Morgan and spoke briefly to delegates and community members. We then moved on to 69 Street Station, where a very large crowd had gathered via shuttle buses and LRT to see the train break through the ribbon laid across the tracks, marking the official opening of the West LRT line. Speeches and cake-cutting then took place at Ernest Manning High School, along with many festivities.
From 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., family-friendly events were hosted at each of the new LRT stations and the public was invited to ride the new LRT line for free between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., giving people the chance to experience the new service prior to Monday's launch of services.
The photos below were taken at the Downtown West-Kerby Station, Sirocco Station, 69 Street Station and Ernest Manning High School.
Tour of the new West LRT Stations - November 17, 2012
Along with representatives from the West Springs Cougar Ridge, Coach Hill Patterson Heights and Signal Hill Community Associations, my staff and I recently had the opportunity to tour the new stations along the West LRT line. This photo gallery contains pictures that we took inside the stations.
About the West LRT
The West LRT project is the largest infrastructure project in the history of The City of Calgary and includes six new stations along more than eight kilometres of track. Major roadway upgrades, interchange construction, construction of the new Ernest Manning High School, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure improvements and utility relocations were also included in the $1.4 billion project.
When it opens, the West LRT line and the realigned bus network will serve the communities in southwest Calgary located west of the city’s centre between the Bow River and Glenmore Reservoir – an area that is expected to grow from its current population of 105,000 to 120,000 over the next 15 years.
The West LRT team has produced a YouTube video that follows the West LRT from 69 Street Station to Sunalta Station. It is exciting to get a feel for what the ride will be like visually. The video, of course, is sped up - when operational it will take about 14 minutes to get from 69 Street to Sunalta. They have also produced a YouTube video that gives you a closer look at each of the individual stations along the new line and their unique features.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact my office.
West LRT bicycle route improvements
As part of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Improvements
initiative, which guides much of the planning in the areas surrounding the new West LRT line, bicycle routes
connecting to all six stations are being implemented. The first phase
includes routes connecting to the 45 Street, Westbrook and Shaganappi Point Stations.
Family-friendly routes along 40 Street, 42 Street and Kelwood Drive SW and along Westwood Drive/Gateway Drive were part of Phase One for the project.
Phase 2 was to begin in late 2012 and included the 69 Street, Sirocco and Sunalta LRT Stations. This program has now been rolled into the existing Cycling Strategy program, making a more efficient use of staff resources.
This content represents the personal views and opinions of the Ward Councillor and should not be taken as a statement of policy of The City of Calgary. The inclusion of any external content does not imply endorsement by The City of Calgary.