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Frustration mounts as Okotoks Transit can't meet demand

The Town is working to add buses as Okotoks' transit system is doing three times as many trips as it was designed to handle.
Okotoks Transit 0878
An Okotoks Transit bus drives along McRae Street in downtown Okotoks. (BRENT CALVER/Western Wheel)

More buses are on the way as high demand for public transit is causing rider frustration in Okotoks. 

With three times the demand it was designed for, the Town said the current system is unable to meet the needs of the community, resulting in ride failure and user frustration.

To boost capacity, Town council approved the purchase of two buses during its meeting on Feb. 26.  

“Transit was designed for about 24,000 users per year,” CAO Elaine Vincent said. “Currently, we're doing 80,000 trips per year.” 

Coun. Rachel Swendseid said she has had her own issues trying to use the service. 

“I have tried to get on the transit bus to come to council meetings and I haven't been able to get on once because of the demand,” Swendseid said. “I haven't been able to book a bus to get here, and folks tell me that all the time.” 

Okotoks has an on-demand transit system where riders book a trip in advance and are picked up and dropped off “curb-to-curb.”

The new buses will cost $400,000, provided through grant funding. With a wait of up top 10 months for buses to be built, the Town is looking at leasing additional buses until the new ones are available. 

The Town has been looking at adding fixed transit routes in addition to the existing service, and Town staff said more details will be provided later this year. 

Okotoks' operating budget includes an additional $250,000 for transit this year, which will cover leasing and operating costs for the additional buses, staff said.

Robert Korotyszyn

About the Author: Robert Korotyszyn

Robert Korotyszyn covers Okotoks and Foothills County news for and the Western Wheel newspaper. For story tips contact [email protected]
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