Skip to content

Cold Lake reduces transit operations

City of Cold Lake council made the decision to reduce their transit hours. File photo.

COLD LAKE – The wheels on the City of Cold Lake’s buses won’t be going around as much as they usually do.

Council voted in favour of reducing the hours of transit during their April 28 council meeting.

“It was mostly because of a reduced level of ridership,” noted Mayor Craig Copeland. “But, also to try and save some more money given the situation the city is financially in right now.”

Effective Monday, May 4, buses will run from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday. Saturdays will be removed from the schedule starting this weekend (Saturday, May 2.)

The city estimates these changes will save approximately $5,000 per week.

“It will generate savings right now, and then as the city’s financial situation changes we’ll bring it back online,” Copeland said.

Although Cold Lake transit is still seeing around 120 riders per day, it’s a significant drop from about 550 users per day the bus system would normally be seeing this time of year.

Copeland noted the buses have been a popular service that residents have taken advantage of since it was introduced in 2015.

“Over 150,000 people were using transit last year. It helps people get to work that don’t have a vehicle or don’t have a second vehicle. Eventually, when the conditions that everybody is under are more relaxed I’m sure the ridership is going to increase.”

Cold Lake has been seeing a substantial reduction in revenue due to COVID-19, coupled with the financial strains coming from the provincial government's indecisiveness on ID 349 funding and the Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) from the federal government. If those issues aren’t addressed in the coming months, Copeland stressed “everything will be on the table.”

“We have a lot of big decisions to make as a council,” he continued. “Typically how it works is the last council meeting of May, we set the taxes that we collect from residents and commercial. That will be the significant meeting where we have to answer a lot of questions and if council has to reduce city services by a significant amount.”

Copeland hopes to keep the bussing service available to everyone who needs it.

“Each customer on the transit is an important person. So even if late in the evening we were only down to eight or nine people in an hour, that’s still people that are relying on transit to get around. This will impact people, but hopefully, everybody can adapt and we’re trying.”

Robynne Henry, Bonnyville Nouvelle

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks