It appears the On-It Regional Transit system will live to see another ride.
Southland Transportation Ltd. announced Tuesday, Feb. 6 that it will be taking over the system from the Calgary Regional Partnership at the end of the month.
This comes just days after it was announced the future of the local transit system was up in the air due to the Alberta government's creation of the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board (CMRB), which would have left On-It without a managing body.
Jonathan Weal, Southland Transportation Regional Director for Southern Alberta, says the initial plan is to blend current Southland services and On-It together.
"The impact upon the users of the On-It service and Southland shuttle service will be minimal if anything at all, our plan is to re-brand all of our commuter services as On-It," he says. "We're talking to the other municipalities and looking at ways we can compliment their requirements, and make sure the services we're offering are the ones they're looking for."
He shares Southland hopes to again work with Parks Canada, Banff and Canmore again this year to continue the Calgary to Banff service.
"We carried almost 12,000 people to Banff, and it was an amazing success. The last four to six weeks of the service we had three to four buses everyday that were completely sold out. The people of Calgary, Okotoks and Cochrane really wanted that service and showed that by using it."
The company is also hoping to reach out to Chestermere and Strathmore to bring regional transit to the outlying communities.
Weal shares when they heard the CRP was coming to an end, they felt taking over On-It was an opportunity to continue a unique idea.
"The work that the CRP had done with both the Okotoks service and the service out to Banff was visionary, they saw something that nobody else has really seen for Alberta. We're a province where people like their cars and their trucks, and to be able to offer something different was visionary."
The communities of Black Diamond, Turner Valley and High River all pulled out of On-It with the news of its imminent termination, Weal hopes they now reconsider.
"I think they maybe didn't have the full picture at the time and I'm hoping they're going to see the people that live in those communities want this, and they wanted it for a long time."
Southland will also be coming out with a survey for current and potential On-It users to gauge each community's needs and wants.
Southland will take over the On-It Regional Transit system effective Feb. 28, 2018.
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