City administration is recommending the city’s express transit route be extended into Kam Lake during peak hours, but a number of city councillors remain unconvinced.
The express route, which currently runs from downtown around the Frame Lake area, would then continue onto Kam Lake, and wouldn’t impact the existing route’s service.
The new route would start on Kam Lake Road, continue to Grace Lake Boulevard, and do a loop connecting Enterprise Drive, Taltheilei Drive and Deh Cho Boulevard.
Currently, the express route only runs during the school year, but it would be extended to provide service year round for people in the Kam Lake area, according to Wendy Newton, the city’s engineering manager.
The route would leave downtown at 3:50 p.m. in the afternoon, which Councillor Julian Morse said could lead to the service missing a lot of potential riders.
“I don’t think demand is the only reason to provide transit service, I think it is something the city is obligated to provide,” he said.
Kam Lake is mostly an industrial area, with few residents.
“What I would be concerned about is it’s kind of a chicken and egg thing, where the service needs to be in place for people to get used to it, but my concern is we’d see empty busses go by. I see empty busses go by my house every hour, transit is pretty under utilized in this community.”
Newton said that it is mostly school children who are using the city’s transit service, and the earlier time lines up with when school ends.
She added that the route is intended to be permanent, but because it is being added on to an existing route, it would be easy to discontinue if ridership is low.
Councillor Niels Konge, who owns a business in Kam Lake, said the focus should be on getting employees and potential customers out to the area.
“Unless that’s dealt with, I’m going to have a very difficult time supporting this,” he said.
The city’s plans were presented during a governance and priorities committee meeting on monday, based on recommendations made by a consulting company in 2019.
Bassi-Kellett said the city was nowhere near cost recovery for their transit service and extending the express route was the most affordable of the options.
The city is also pondering changing some fares, including adding a family and day pass option.
Residents will get a chance to give their input between January and March of 2023.
If it goes ahead, the route would be implemented in July 2023.