City eyes $32M in surplus money for Calgary Transit recovery – Calgary

As Calgary Transit passenger numbers continue to recover, the City Board has authorized the investment of surplus funds to increase service levels and cover lost revenue.

As part of Wednesday’s discussion on service investment and improvement, the city’s executive committee voted in favor of Calgary Transit’s access to up to $32 million in financial stability and operating budget savings accounts to help mitigate lost income due to the pandemic. and allowed recovery spending to continue.

The move must go to the City Council for final approval.

“Public transportation needs to be properly funded to provide the quality service that Calgary citizens expect,” said Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek.

According to Calgary Transit, the revenue shortfall is expected to be $40 million to $50 million this year, but is expected to improve.

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Declining passenger numbers in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic led to a revenue shortfall of $93 million, rising to $106 million in 2021.

The transit service reported a loss of $67 million in revenue in 2022.

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In the past, matching emergency relief funds between federal and state governments offset lost revenue. However, similar funding is not expected this year.

Gondek said local governments are the only source of funding as conversations are taking place between mayors of large cities across the country and their federal and state counterparts to encourage increased funding for transportation. I said it doesn’t have to be.

“A different kind of partnership, a different kind of funding opportunity is certainly beneficial for people who use public transport,” Gondek said.

“It also facilitates public transport use, enabling many environmental goals to be met. It also creates the kind of social equity that all three government mandates are committed to.”

According to Calgary Transit’s latest ridership data, CTrain usage returned to pre-pandemic levels in January, with bus rides nearly 70% of what they were in 2019.

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However, Calgary Transit is still in recovery mode, with efforts underway to hire more operators by the end of 2023 and to increase service levels.

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Calgary Transit safety is a big concern for riders in the city, especially after dark.

According to city data, 74% of Calgarians feel or would feel safe waiting alone at a CTrain station during the day, but 58% would rather wait alone after dark. I feel unsafe when I am there.

The City of Calgary announced Wednesday that it has upgraded the lighting at all Downtown Transit stations between City Hall and the Downtown West/Kirby station.

City officials said the enhanced lighting will make security camera footage clearer and improve visibility on the platform.

Calgary Transit Director Sharon Fleming said in a statement, “As we continue to take steps to improve the safety of our transit passengers and the comfort of our customers, increased visibility will help our team better understand the situation. Investigate and dispatch personnel as soon as possible.

But people who use the service as part of their daily commute told Global News that more work needs to be done to address the social disruption of the service.

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“I’ve seen a lot of disturbing incidents of homelessness and drug use… I’ve seen fixtures, I’ve seen fires at train stations,” Diana Elekes told Global News.

“I never stand alone, and I never ride at night.”

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Elekes said she regularly reports incidents during her transit commute but has seen no improvement.

David Cooper, principal at Leading Mobility Consulting, says the number one way to address safety is to increase passenger levels of service.

Maintaining passenger numbers requires transit to maintain funding for post-pandemic recovery and improved service levels, Cooper said.

“Reducing service during recovery puts us in a less attractive situation, which actually reduces passenger numbers and actually reduces revenue,” says Cooper.

“It’s what we call the Transit Death Spiral.”

Calgary Transit noted other safety initiatives, including the presence of Calgary Transit Ambassadors throughout the system and increased staffing levels in the Operations Control Center to monitor the system’s 1,200 CCTV cameras. The operations center also dispatches personnel to respond to safety texts from customers.

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Traffic authorities use the traffic monitoring program to report safety concerns by texting 74100, calling 262-1000 option #1, or using the help button or phone at CTrain stations Passengers are encouraged to do so.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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