Calgary Transit to reduce service hours by 30 percent in late May

May 12, 2020
The reduction is in addition to layoffs and temporary elimination of routes as the transit system and the city of Calgary deal with the financial fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Calgary Transit, which is facing an estimated C$89-million (US463.39 million) loss in revenues as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, will implement a 30-percent reduction in service hours in May and will lay off 430 employees.   

The city says the cost-cutting moves follow an evaluation of the entire transit system to ensure the transit system is able to provide “meaningful service” for residents to travel to work and essential food and medical facilities.

As of May 25, Calgary Transit will temporarily eliminate 25 routes and reduce the frequency of 30 weekday routes and 19 weekend routes. In total, the service changes represent a 30-percent reduction in service hours from March 2020 levels.

“These changes will ensure coverage across our city, but there will inevitably be some negative impacts to the customer experience,” the city said in a May 8 update on the pandemic’s impact.

Calgary Transit says it will continually monitor ridership levels once the changes are in place and will adjust as needed.

Calgary Transit is not alone in this struggle. Layoffs and service reductions have been seen at Toronto Transit Commission and Edmonton Transit System. TransLink announced cost reduction plans, but later pulled those back following a commitment by the province of British Columbia to ensure transit service.

The Canadian Urban Transit Association (CUTA) is advocating for transit agencies across Canada and has requested C$400 million (US$283.58 million) per month to help systems recoup lost revenue.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.