Red Deer Transit: City in Motion

City in Motion: Transit Route Realignment

Red Deer Transit’s new route network is now full schedule and frequency.

As part of The City’s response to COVID-19, Red Deer Transit reduced the schedules and frequency of all transit routes on March 23, 2020. Working within those lower COVID-19 service levels, on August 23 the system undertook the initial launch of a new route network developed based on public feedback.

On October 4, that new route network moved out of the COVID-19 levels and into full service to offer more frequency and longer hours of service. A number of other minor adjustments to routes and schedules are also included to address feedback heard from the initial launch.

View the full schedules and their maps and learn more about the changes here.

Because of the improved efficiencies of the new network, the system is now able to deliver enhanced service within its existing budget, including:

  • 15-minute service on the 1 Gaetz Avenue Rapid Bus at peak times on weekdays.
  • Earlier morning and later evening service, including early morning service that starts at 5 a.m. on the 1 Gaetz Avenue Rapid Bus, Core Routes 2, 3 and 4 and Route 18 Riverside Industrial.
  • 30-minute service restored on most routes and times Monday to Saturday PLUS targeted reinstatement of 30-minute service on Sundays and Holidays on higher ridership routes and times.
  • Other minor adjustments to routing and schedules to address public feedback, including routing of the Route 2 Crosstown, Route 4 Glendale – South East and 19 Edgar Industrial and schedule adjustments to improve connections where feasible.

The new system structure is based on public feedback heard through the Transit Network Improvement project (TNIP) completed in 2019. The new network creates a foundation for further transit improvements by improving the directness of routes and offering new connections between neighbourhoods. It also enables the system to put a higher level of service where it is needed most, such as on Gaetz Avenue.

The route realignment implemented on August 23, 2020 features a new Gaetz Avenue Rapid Bus which runs the full length of the Gaetz Avenue corridor, as well as new core routes connecting the highest ridership stops and destinations. Two new transit hubs at Bower Place (along Bennett Street and Gaetz Avenue) and Kingston Drive (west of Gaetz Avenue) provide connection points in the north and south end, reducing the need for riders to transfer downtown. The new network also offers neighbourhood routes that provide more coverage within residential areas and commuter routes, with continued Action Bus service and school services to meet different passenger needs.

You can view the full service Route Overview Map - all regular transit routes (pdf) or learn more about the full service individual routes, their schedules and their maps.

What are the new service levels and why do some routes have more service than others?

Rather than “one size fits all,” the new route structure tries to better match service with ridership levels. This means that routes serving higher ridership stops and destinations operate longer and have more frequency than others serving lower density areas with less ridership.

As of October 4, service levels and their rationale are as follows:

  • As the major spine of the network, the 1 Gaetz Avenue Rapid Bus has the most service, including 15-minute service at peak times on weekdays and 30-minute service all other times, including on Sundays and Holidays.
  • As the other major routes in the system, Core Routes 2, 3 and 4 (as well as the Route 12 Gasoline Alley) also provide 30-minute service all day, including on Sundays and Holidays.
  • Since the Rapid Bus and Core routes now serve as the main framework for Red Deer’s Transit System, through the changes we’ve also been able to extend how long they operate.
    • On weekdays these routes all start at 5:00 a.m. (along with the 18 Riverside Industrial) to provide access to jobs across the City.
    • Monday to Saturday these routes operate until after 11:15 p.m.
    • Sundays and Holidays these routes also offer extended evening service until after 9:15 p.m.
  • As of October 4, all Neighbourhood routes will have 30-minute service at peak times, start by 6:15 a.m. on weekdays and run until at least after 9:15 p.m. Monday to Saturday.
  • Neighbourhood routes that also have higher ridership and which have less overlap with the Core routes also have greater frequency and longer hours of service added as of October 4.
    • These higher ridership Neighbourhood Routes include the 10 Rosedale, 11 Anders – Vanier Woods and 16 Oriole Park.
    • These routes will operate at 30-minute service all day Monday to Saturday until 6:45pm and then provide hourly service until at least 10:45 p.m.
    • Through the changes, we’ve also been able to reinstate 30-minute service on these routes on Sundays and Holidays between approximately 11:15 a.m. and 6:15 p.m.
  • Since the Neighbourhood routes 13 West Park – College – Bower and the 15 Pines – Normandeau have lower ridership and serve areas that also have nearby access to Core routes as well, they retain hourly service during non-commuting times.

The above frequencies and hours of service are designed to best match service to demand within existing budgets. As ridership patterns change and service moves forward, further improvements to frequencies and hours of service are planned, pending budget availability.

Did routes change again on October 4?

No, for the most part the October 4 changes simply add more frequency and longer hours of service to the revised route network that was launched on August 23, 2020.

However, the October 4 changes do include the following minor adjustments to address public feedback heard:

  • Route 2 Crosstown adjusted to provide service to Johnstone Drive and Jewell Street between Jordan Parkway and Taylor Drive.
  • Route 4 Glendale – South East shifted to provide service on Glendale Boulevard between Northey Avenue and Grant Street. Stops on Northey Avenue between Glendale Blvd/77 St and Grant St/Nolan St would still be served by the Route 15 Pines – Normandeau.
  • Route 19 Edgar Industrial now serves southbound stops on Kentwood Drive and departs from Kingston Hub Bay A.
  • Other minor adjustments to schedules to improve connections where feasible.
How was public feedback taken into account with the October 4 changes?

Our sincere thanks to everyone who took the time to provide feedback on the August 23 changes. The project team considered all suggestions provided and incorporated those that were feasible within existing budgets and road network constraints. We will continue to monitor service and consider further changes when they make sense. We’ll also be launching a follow up public survey in mid-October to collect further feedback.

How does the new route structure implemented on August 23 work?

The new route structure has been designed to include the following route types:

  • Route 1 Gaetz Avenue Rapid Bus offers the highest level of service and runs north-south from one end of the city to the other. It is the new major spine for our network.
  • Core Routes (Routes 2, 3 and 4) are as direct as possible, support the Rapid Bus and also provide longer hours of service and better frequency than the Neighbourhood routes. They serve the highest ridership areas and major destinations in the City, including Red Deer College, Red Deer Regional Hospital, and many recreation centres, schools and shopping areas. The new 2 Crosstown also now connects the City's north west, north east and south east areas to each other without having to transfer downtown.
  • Neighbourhood Routes (Routes 10-16) provide more coverage within neighbourhoods and connect with the 1 Gaetz Avenue Rapid Bus and Core routes at Sorensen Station and the new Kingston and Bower Transit Hub. These routes continue to serve many of the existing residential stops as the current system.
  • Commuter Routes (Routes 18 and 19) provide service on weekday peak-times-only to the Riverside and Edgar Industrial areas.

A number of routes from the prior system were not affected by the August 23 changes, as follows:

  • School Services:  Red Deer Transit continues to offer service to local school boards. School routes remain the same and are not affected by the October 4 changes.
  • Action Bus continues to operate throughout the City (and some areas of the County – funded by Red Deer County) to provide door-to-door service for eligible, registered users unable to use the fully accessible fixed route system some or all of the time.
  • Regional Routes 12 Gasoline Alley and 103/104 2A Regional Service maintained their existing routing. The 12 Gasoline Alley had minor adjustments to its schedule while the 103/104 A continues to run using the existing schedules.
Why do some of the new routes operate as loops?

Wherever possible the new network tries to provide routes that operate in two directions. However, in some areas with lower population density and ridership, loops are the most efficient.

Did school routes change?

Red Deer Transit will continue to offer service to local school boards. School routes and bus stops remain the same as what was implemented on August 31, 2020 and are not affected by the October 4 change. The City will continue working with both school boards to see if they need adjusting based on school district plans.

Will Action Bus service change?

No, there are no planned changes to Action Bus service.

Will Sunday and Holiday service change?

Yes, the October 4 changes enable higher levels of service on Sundays and Holidays, including:

  • 30-minute service all day on the Route 1 Gaetz Avenue Rapid Bus, Core Routes 2, 3 and 4 and Route 12 Gasoline Alley. These routes will also offer extended evening service on Sundays and Holidays until after 9:15 p.m.
  • 30-minute service added at targeted times of the day—primarily from 11:15 a.m. to 6:15 p.m.—on higher ridership Neighbourhood Routes 10, 11 and 16.
  • 60-minute service maintained at other times and for other routes.
Will transit fares be changing?

No, there are no fare changes planned at this time. Any potential future fare changes would be considered as part of The City’s annual budget process.

Will the changes impact bus stops?

For the most part the routes and stops used for the October 4 changes are identical to those implemented on August 23, 2020. There are minor stop and routing changes to the following routes to address public feedback heard:

  • Route 2 Crosstown adjusted to provide service to Johnstone Drive and Jewell Street between Jordan Parkway and Taylor Drive. This in turn removes Route 2 service from stops on Johnstone Drive at Taylor Drive and stops on Taylor Drive between Johnstone Drive and Jewell Street.
  • Route 4 Glendale – South East shifted to provide service on Glendale Boulevard between Northey Avenue and Grant Street. Stops on Northey Avenue between Glendale Blvd/77 St and Grant St/Nolan St would still be served by the Route 15 Pines – Normandeau.
  • Route 19 Edgar Industrial now serves southbound stops on Kentwood Drive and departs from Kingston Hub Bay A.

For information about bus stops please review the new transit route maps and schedules.

Will we be able to offer feedback on the October 4 routes and schedules?

We have closed the public feedback portion for the new routes and schedules, but will be taking more public feedback mid-October. We’ll let you know when that survey opens up.

How does the new route structure impact walking distance to transit stops?

The new network implemented on August 23, 2020 carefully considered where ridership was occurring and primarily uses stops that were used by Red Deer’s previous collection of routes. However, a frequent complaint about the old route network was that it was too circuitous and time consuming. By straightening out routes and making them more direct, the new route network can offer more service to our existing riders as well as make the system more attractive to new customers.

With the move away from the past system to one that is more direct and less circuitous, there are tradeoffs that need to be recognized. More direct routes (e.g. straight lines) can result in less coverage into some neighbourhoods where the transportation network can be more circuitous. This means that some people may need to walk further to access transit service in the new route network than they previously did.

How does this fit in with the longer term strategy for transit?

The system redesign is an outcome of the Transit Network Improvements project, which was completed in 2019 and was undertaken in support of achieving the objectives of The City’s Multimodal Transportation Plan. The route realignment is the first step that creates the foundation for future transit improvements and was designed to work within existing transit system resources.

What is the cost associated with changing the routes and schedules?

There is no operational cost increase associated with implementing the immediate transit network changes. Existing resources will be reallocated to better match service to ridership level, within Transit's existing operational budget.

Will the Gaetz Avenue Rapid Bus reduce travel lanes for other vehicles?

The implementation of the Gaetz Avenue Rapid Bus route does not include dedicated bus lanes – buses will continue to travel in the same lanes as other vehicles. To keep transit reliable and efficient, over the next few years other potential planned improvements consist of transit signal priority measures, which use technology to reduce delays at traffic signals. This provides a balanced approach to increasing the reliability of transit service along the Gaetz Avenue corridor, with minimal impacts to other motorists.

Contact Us

Have questions about the Red Deer Transit schedules or need assistance planning your trip? Contact the project team: