Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Edmonton Transit Disappoints

Dear Councillor Leibovici;

This morning, on the coldest day Edmonton has seen in 2010, the school special express bus my children take to school left seven minutes early. It left a bunch of students behind.

When I dropped my kids off 5 minutes before the time their bus was supposed to leave I expected that they would be getting on their bus shortly. I always wait to get a text confirmation that they're on the bus, just in case something happens, so when I didn't hear from them I called to see what was going on. The response was that the bus wasn't there yet but a bunch of kids were waiting. Then one of the kids received a text from a friend on the bus who confirmed the bus had indeed left already - seven minutes early. As I could only transport four students in my vehicle the remaining children were left abandoned at the WEM transit centre.

The school my children attend is a K-12 school in the inner city and as such all ages use the school special bus route provided by Edmonton Transit for the school (Bus 717). It's a difficult destination to get to using other bus routes and that would be if you understood how to do it in the first place. A child would have to get downtown and change buses or walk through the downtown core into the inner city to get to the school.

It's very important to the students and families that depend on this bus route that the bus not leave early, especially when the weather is so cold. We trust that the bus will leave on schedule and that everyone will get to school safely and on time. I drop my children off on my way to work in the morning but most arrive via transfer from other buses and can't get there any earlier.

I contacted 311 this morning and gave the customer service agent all of the information regarding the incident and asked that someone from Edmonton Transit call me back. She was very polite and assured me that the message would be passed on but I did not receive a call from anyone, not even to acknowledge my call. This is not the first time that I have contacted Edmonton Transit with a concern and never heard back.

I need to know that Edmonton Transit will impress upon the drivers of this bus route the importance of keeping to the schedule and to remind them that there is a negative impact to many people, mainly children, when something like this happens. I'd like to hear from an appropriate person at Edmonton Transit to know that this matter will be taken seriously and treated accordingly.

Thank you for your time.   

EDIT: I was contacted by a very helpful ETS Inspector today (Nov 23) who will be handling the investigation resulting from my concerns. I need to say I was VERY impressed and appreciated that he did call me and relieved to know that ETS is taking this seriously. I was also comforted to discover that the regular bus driver is away on holiday so this is likely an isolated incident/mistake. Thank you ETS! Thank you Councillor Leibovici!


Anonymous said...

Why should tax dollars be used for you to send your children to a school for the Preforming Arts, you pay for them to go there. It is your choice to send there and you should pay for it, not us. Just because it's a little cold or your children have to walk a little distance you expect us to feel sorry for you, not. Also you seem to be twisting the facts, you don't have to go through the downtown core using ETS.

Anonymous said...

My son uses Edmonton Transit for his daily commute to work - its always dreadful service when the weather is nasty. Never on time - and never any explantion to the passengers as to what is going on. He waited 40 minutes last year for a bus that never arrived (no bus shelter at his stop). He ended up phoning me to come and get him. So much for going green and taking public transit. You will have to pry the steering wheel from my dead, frozen fingers before I give up driving for the greater good. sorry about the children - that is inexcusable - and by the way if it is advertised then it should be delivered. Maybe a private carrier would do a better job of getting passengers to their destinations in safety. Cheers. FernStAlbert

Allie said...

@Anonymous#1 I wish tax dollars were used to get my kids to school! We have to pay just like everyone else does. And it's a public school, not private.

I'm not sure what you mean about kids having to walk a little distance when it's cold... google maps says it would take just over 2 hours to walk that distance - http://maps.google.com/maps?f=d&utm_campaign=en&utm_source=en-ha-na-us-google-dd&utm_medium=ha

And I suppose kids could make their way to the westmount/kingway area to get to the school but I imagine that's more difficult to figure out than going through downtown (where Victoria is).

Fern - I know exactly what you are saying. I used Edmonton Transit as my sole means of transportation for 5 years (and 10 years before that in Calgary) before deciding to get a vehicle. The rest of my family still uses ETS to get everywhere. No system is perfect and not every situation can be optimal, but when kids are involved I think it's more serious.