Calgary Transit Sucks

I was having a discussion with Doug down in the Bistro this morning, and I came to a rather interesting realization: Calgary Transit sucks.

Let’s have a realistic view, here. Calgary is the third or fourth largest city in Canada. We’re over a million people (we recently had our one millionth baby, but I suspect we’re actually well over that number in population). We have a massive city by area because Calgary hasn’t quite figured out that we should be building up, not out.

Calgary is attempting to address this fact by improving roads. Roads. As in expecting people to drive. Wow. There’s incentive to take public transit. Okay, in their defense, the C-Train will be up in the Northwest at Crowfoot Crossing in the next year or two. But not in the Northeast or in the effective places in the south, where the city is growing the fastest.

The bus system is a joke. Some parts of the city are well-served. But overall, it’s far from what this city needs. Ottawa at least had the smarts to put in bus routes that use their own roads, where cars cannot go. Calgary can’t do that because the roads are already filled with cars carrying a single person. I know — I used to be one of them.

A few months ago, I used to drive to work. Seven-odd kilometres one way. Fifteen minutes if I hit every light and got stuck behind slow people. I had a prime parking spot. It was everything I shouldn’t be doing. I live SEVEN kilometres from work. Why on earth would I drive? I decided in the spring to bike and bus. So far, the biking is going very well — I can get to work almost as fast as it took me to drive. Getting home takes a bit longer, but it’s mostly uphill.

The bus is a different story. Although the #7 is actually pretty convenient in the morning, the afternoon is another issue. I’ve been passed by at the stop near my office several times because the bus was full. (There were a couple of cases where the bus simply didn’t show up.) The telephone schedule is wildly inaccurate because the bus never actually follows that schedule.

The bus where I am is good compared to those poor folks who end up living on the outskirts of town. Bus service exists out there too, but the timing sucks. Somewhere, the person at Calgary Transit who sets the schedules needs to spend some time with the people who ride the bus and ask how it works for them. Based on all the people I’ve talked to, it’s not working.

There are a series of express buses designed to help funnel people in from the outer ring. For these people, it can cut as much as 50% off their commute time. But it doesn’t come without a price. People have to start earlier and have to leave early or face a long ride to and from work. One of my co-workers, Colin, has to run out at 16:55 sharp every day or face the prospect of a long ride home because he’ll miss the last express. The last one. Not the last for an hour … the last of the day.

What Einstein doesn’t know that most offices actually close at 17:00?

This baffles me beyond belief. Yes, some places in Calgary close earlier in the day, but not all of them. Many places are open until 17:00 or later. But too bad if you’re not one of the lucky few who actually close when Calgary Transit says you should. This insular ignorance of reality amazes me to no end. (The same problem exists with the West Coast Express in Vancouver. Vancouver runs more on the 9-5 workday than Calgary does!)

And lest you think that I’m just some rambling idiot (which I very well may be), my friend Tom has piped in with his own thoughts:

I figured moving to a company right downtown where the C-Train is close would be great. Not so. In order for me to catch the C-Train at the Dalhousie station, I have to be there before 06:40 just to get a parking spot. The Citadel bus (199) goes right past the Dalhousie station and feeds the Brentwood station. Where’s the logic in that? When the weather is nice, I get to ride my Hog-2-be to work (I double park in the bosses spot). Riding the bike takes 25 minutes from Citadel to downtown. Driving to Dalhousie and taking the train usually takes about 40 to 50 minutes. It costs in fuel for the bike $1.00 each way, transit – $2.25. Just to recap, when I can ride my bike, it takes half the time for less than half the price and I don’t need to squeeze myself on the homebound train, which of course is the last stop out of downtown going North West. Why in the world would I ever want to take Calgary Transit??? I am so looking forward to our company moving out of downtown and up on Centre street and 11th ave North in October where I will have my own parking spot and never have to rely on Calgary Transit again!

Calgary has a 15 year plan to expand all the C-Train stations to add a fourth car to the trains. And eventually they’ll get enough cars to handle the load. Already the trains are packed tight. We’ll need to hire some Japanese pushers to get everyone in before too long. We don’t need longer trains in 15 years — we need more trains now. We need to double the number of trains, and then use those cars to expand the three-car trains to four-car trains in the future. We need to expand the C-Train route to the southwest to Westhills, the southeast to Mackenzie Town, the north west to Tuscany, the northeast (admittedly, I don’t know the area up there that well), and for God’s sake, can we please run the C-Train to the airport? Would it really kill someone to think that Calgary should have a single route from the airport to downtown? Or am I being grossly naive here?

The bus routes, as Chris recently pointed out, are all undocumented. If you don’t live here, you have no idea where the bus is going or when it should come. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to put up schedules on the bus stops and put maps so people know where they’re going. Really smart bus companies show major routes so people know where to change to other routes. London has this figured out. Tokyo has it down to a science. Paris has it made. Honk Kong is a breeze. Calgary’s a frickin’ disaster.

And it costs a lot for the privilege, too. $2.25 by current prices. That doesn’t get you much. And Calgary Transit wonders why they’re losing money.

Someone please wake up and check out the reality of the city’s transportation needs? We’re grossly behind compared to other cities, and if we have any hope at all of stemming the tide of cars driving in and out of downtown, we need some common sense helping set the direction.

256 thoughts on “Calgary Transit Sucks

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  1. Hi everyone,
    First off it’s nice to see a discussion about ways to improve the ridership experience rather than just rag on the issues.
    From what I understand the smart cards discussed were going to be what is known as tap cards where you tap it when you get on and get to where you’re going. These would be linked to an account and automatically charged to whatever account you have set-up. There was still an on-going discussion about what exactly the final product would be but that seemed to be the most popular choice. They aren’t perfect but it would be better than the current system. As far as I know it would replace everything not a onetime fare payment (ie cash).
    The demand issue I was talking about was referring to demand for a specific route rather than demand for a bus vs cab vs driving. And for the airport issue I don’t know what the negotiations were specifically but with the on-going issues the city is having with trying to build an airport tunnel for cars I think anything solid going out there is a long way off.
    The buses do currently have priority lights at some stops. They use the same system as the fire, police and EMS (they obviously work differently). The BRT do definitely have priority light sequencing at most of the lights along their routes. If you are a light and see a blue light come on that is the priority light for a bus. I would love to see the by-law amended where cars have to yield to a bus pulling out but that is a political thing and beyond my scope.
    I agree Geoff that the biggest failing of Calgary Transit in my opinion is its communication with the general public. It’s not good at all but at the same time I think that effectively communicating with people as spread out as Calgary is is very difficult to do effectively.
    As for the four car trains, the downtown stations are the toughest to change over hence them being done first. Construction has started at Whitehorn to expand the station. As far as what I was told the rest of the stations should be easier to do and done in relatively short order (ie done on a long weekend or over a few selected weekends). Places like SAIT will probably be a challenge because of development on both sides. I’m not really sure what the time frame is for the completion of the retrofit.
    I just want to comment on the post by busdriver.
    “ There was a rumor that they’d make it run Somerset to Westside and have the other line changed to McKnight to Crowfoot, but nothing official as of yet. Seeing as 4 car trains are a bit away, there would no benefit to doing that unless you want to keep the lines divided strictly upon North and South.”
    This is actually part of the long term development plan laid out in the .pdf I posted earlier. The three line running to the south (west, south and southeast would all run under 8th ave. While the NW, NE and North central lines would all remain above ground running along 7th ave.
    Sorry if this was a little disjointed I was answering questions in my spare time and at several different times.


  2. HI Guys,

    I’ve noticed from the last couple of posts that everyone is talking about lack of communication. In this post, I will dedicate this post to discussing internal communications between the employer and employees and how much they value our opinions.

    Calgary Transit regularly posts “CT News Clips” which really is nothing more than a corporate propaganda publication. Each version usually has some feel good storey and almost always managtement-friendly people are applauded for things that most of us do day in and day out on the job.

    Calgary Transit does a very bad job of communicating with its own employees. There was a recent employee survey that went out a few weeks ago. It will be interesting to see the results. The last survey showcased Transit workers as the most dissatisfied workers out of the entire workforce of the City. Low ratings in each part of the survey.

    So many mornings, we go out on the road on a weekend and there’s 3 or 4 detours on a route or a detour on top of a detour and there’s nothing in writing or no bulletin provided to the driver. We come up to a dead end and look like amateurs and idiots when there’s a spot that you can’t get turned around at. Buses can’t pull u-turns. One of the first things that bus drivers do in the morning is ask on the radio if there are detours on our routes just so there are no suprises. Another beef with CT is how on some routes temporary stops just pop up or go away or how permanant stops disappear and nothing is ever communicated to the drivers. Then 3 weeks later you get a complaint brought out to you by some supervisor that you didn’t service the stop. How was I supposed to know there’s a stop there?

    Every 3 or 4 months, members of senior management come out with Tim Hortons coffee and information sheets to the driver lounges at the various garages. Sometimes there are barbeques and breakfasts (like Stampede time). It doesn’t matter. The result is always the same. Drivers are asked to give their concerns. Many of them actually goto great length to explain what frustrates them in day to day Transit life to the higher ups. In the end, the higher ups almost always ignore the problems or deny the problem exists or outright refuse to deal with it.

    I’ve driven bus, c-train, worked in an office job, and also worked in the call center with Calgary Transit years ago. Myself and a driver with 30 years of service approached one of the lead schedulers to ask how come we can’t eliminate 3 way and 4 way splits and have only straight shifts or 2 ways for everyone. Along with that request, we asked how come we have 14 hour spreads and 12 hour spreads. Meaning how come if you start your workday at 5:30 am, how come you have to still be at work 5:29 pm (although there is a long break in the middle the day)? We did research on how they arrange work. We provided a way in which they could reduce the spread time to around 9 or 10 hours and have more straight shifts and still cover all the routes they need to provide service to in an efficient manner. What ended up happening is that person from the schedules department told us that this will never happen because Calgary Transit has a system that has worked since the company started and they would like to keep going with that system. So in other words Calgary Transit is actually still stuck in the 1970s and is very much against CHANGE.

    The way they do schedules now, some buses go out of the garage and might only do 3 partial routes. As an example, you leave Spring Gardens (Deerfoot and 32nd ) drive out of service to a high school in Acadia (Beaverbrook) and take those kids to Midnapore. Then out of service and head to Chinook. Drive Route 23 from Chinook to Saddletown Circle. The last part of the run, go out of service from Saddletown Circle to downtown do a partial route 3 from NB 4 ST SW to Sandstone. After that headback to Spring Gardens. That is just half a day of work. During that piece of work, you probably spend more than half the time driving out of service instead of in service. What a waste.

    They talk about change machines, smart cards and getting rid of paper transfers for proof of fare. For a lot of us, we will belive it when we see it.

    BTW – for anyone interested, the first of the Nova buses to be used in service will be in service Oct 4 (Monday) on select routes out of Spring Gardens.


  3. Transit Signal Priority is installed all along Center Street. Many of the Buses equipped with TSP fail to correctly transmit. many of the recievers are faulty (Center and McKnight) for example. It really doesn’t make much of a difference. Probably 2 extra lights where you have to wait.

    On 305 and 302 routes it is probably more of a difference. The lights at Ogden and Millican have TSP, but TSP doesn’t work there.

    Again, problems with TSP and the buses themselves not transmitting properly have been reported for years by drivers. CT chooses to do nothing about it.


    1. Hey BusDriver,

      Sadly, I haven’t a clue. Something exploded/imploded and all the comments closed. Danged if I know why. (I was wondering why I wasn’t getting much traffic…) Finally realised what had happened (shows you how much I actually ready my own blog…) and fixed it.

      As always, my apologies for the oversight. I’ll keep a closer eye from now on.


  4. Hi Geoff,

    I had a feeling that maybe CT got to you. You know, forced you to shut the blog down. They have been monitoring all kinds of sites critical of them lately. They even started up a twitter page to counter anti-CT talk and perception as well as to try and give out announcements on delays and detours. It seems like it is run by the same guy who writes the internal city propaganda called “CT News Clips”.

    A bus driver as recently fired for going on a private Facebook group and saying some remarks about some supervisors that he didn’t like. Someone else in the group forwarded the remarks to management personnel who didn’t waste time in starting the discipline process and ended up dismissing him.

    Calgary Transit has become a police state. It seems like just because they have a new contract with the union (which runs out yet again in about a year), they can discipline whoever they like. It is to the point where it is easier to name people they haven’t called for disciplinary hearings then people they have suspended, written up, or dismissed. Morale amongst bus, ctrain drivers, maintenance personnel, and even mechanics as a whole is very low. Lots of drivers are on stress leave or thinking about going on it. Grievances against CT are at an all time high. They have imposed an unofficial hiring freeze since last year. They hire shuttle bus drivers to move up to bus driving one class at a time. Whenever things turn around, they will have a hard time attracting people to even apply. Especially after how they mis-treated the drivers they brought over from not only Toronto, but also the ones from England. “The Brits” as they are known were lead to believe that whom they would get permanant residency but then reneged on that promise. Alberta’s heartless minister of labour (don’t know the official title) said NO. Those poor souls are now working for Winnipeg Transit all 18 of them.


    1. I suspect that if it came to that, there’d likely be legal action or some such nonsense. And before that finally took effect, there’d be a number of posts here (and heavily rotated through my extensive social networks) about how CT would rather not discuss the options before them, but simply squash criticism.

      That’s too bad about the drivers. There certainly seems to be a lot of nonsense floating about. Maybe the new council will see fit to investigate that as they have the nonsense with Enmax? One can only hope…


  5. Hi Geoff,

    The issues at CT are not the same as Enmax. At Enmax they have top executives getting millions of dollars in bonuses and base pay which they can’t justify. They were also partying it up on taxpayers dime.

    With Calgary Transit there are 3 main issues. Firstly, they are very adverse to change. They refuse to leave the 1980s or 1970s. The evidence is how they still use paper transfers for proof of payment and how they refuse to change many internal processes because “this is how its always been done”.

    Secondly, CT likes to float itself as a separate entity from the City. They barely get half of their revenue from fares. The other half comes from property taxes. They are setup as a NOT-FOR-Profit Organization. Their processes for simple things like assigning buses to drivers or setting up a telephone number that is updated so that the public can get real time information on schedules are totally flawed in their design and even more in execution. There is no accountability what so ever to anyone. They just jacked bus fare prices to $90 a month starting in January. Their justification for the hike was service expansion. What they didn’t tell the public is that all that expansion has been cut along with 140 Transit Operator positons which they will not fill. There will not be layoffs thanks to our pro-transit Mayor Nenshi but those positions not being filled means they are going back to the days of regularly relying on overtime to fill work. What that means is to the public for runs that don’t have a regular driver, you might get your bus one day and another they are out of manpower well you are s.o.l. Especially bad on days when lots of people call sick around the same time (in cold weather).

    The third issue with CT, which I find is probably the biggest is sheer incompetence of management as a whole. We can cite many examples. Simple one would be the route 19. There’s 20 min between 19 and 119 all day until 6pm when the 119 stops running. Effectively they are the same route except for 32nd Ave to Sunridge and the loop back to Vista Heights. 19 or 119 by itself each has 40 min between buses. The timing of the route is the same for 5 am, 8 am, 11 am, 3 pm, 5 pm, and 12:30 am. Most of the time points have 8 minutes between them. When 16 Ave was being ripped apart, they made no schedule adjustments. 16 Ave even now has heavy traffic in rush hour. Effectively, the route runs from Sunridge Mall to Vista heights, thru Renfrew, on 16 Ave, to Lion’s Park, back on 16 to University and then the whole thing repeat. Often 3 or 4 buses will be in excess of 20 min late, thus killing the schedule. This is a problem since at least the early 1990s (if anyone rememebers 16 ave between Center and Edmonton Tr used to be a major choke point for traffic). There has been no schedule adjustment. 3 buses sometimes run together in rush hour and then after that its more than an hour til the next 19 or 119. Customers have been complaining for decades. Drivers regularly report on radio how late they are but the person answering the radio on the other end tells them to just “carry on”. The same thing happens on Routes 23, and especially Route 20 (due to Crowchild). They help the late night buses get back on time by having out of service buses who were supposed to goto the garage, stick around and do a trip or 2 on overtime. The original driver and everyone else late also does overtime. Why not make a correct schedule for post-1990s Calgary Traffic and take into account higher passenger loads during specific times of day?

    Whenever they design a new bus loop or buy new equipment, they never consult the drivers. Crowfoot bus loop along with the one at McKnight are too tight. Crowfoot was such a fiasco they that to reconfigure which bus stopped at which stop because buses couldn’t go around each other in the loop. The Arboc shuttle buses have major blindspots, and the kneeling feature had to be removed because it gave drivers major discomfort. The new Nova buses have no power to go up hills. Naturally, they are deployed on the hillier routes in the NW. The new Ctrains about to come into service have a number of flaws too. They have cameras instead of mirrors. Sounds cool except, when the driver doesn’t see someone running over the trucks from the side of the train. The Articulated Flyer buses have been a disaster in the snow. These are all things that they could ask either drivers or maintenance people about for input. There’s a lot of experience at CT amongst the workers that management never utilizes.

    Continuing on the issue of incompetence of management at CT, lets look back to Nov 23, 2010. A bus was originally dead on the outbound tracks near the 14 St NW crossing for LRT. The bus had lost air pressure for its own brakes below 60 PSI, when that happens the parking brakes lock on. Outbound trains were stopped. Inbound trains could still make it. The City has an execulsive towing deal with CITY WIDE Towing. They couldn’t send a tow truck. After a few hours and the bus eventually blocking both sets of tracks (how did that happen?), some brainiac in management decided to use another bus to push the bus that was dead, except forgot to check if it had a bike rack on the front.

    On top of these problems, they are treating their employees like trash. Discipline should be used to correct behaviour at work and not to turn the work area into a police state, which is what CT has done.


  6. There were power line problems on the south line this morning and for much of the day.

    Something like this is strictly damage control and in the hands of management as to whether they shut a line down, use shuttle buses, make announcements, or have other plans.

    Whenever there is an emergency such as a power problem, accident, signal problem, a gate crossing problem, switching problem, or even a security situation causing a delay the response is either non-existant or there is poor coordination of an emergency plan. It would not be wrong to say that management is incompetent and inconsisent with their responses to emergencies. Today was no different.

    Today’s problem was a power problem. All that kind of work is farmed out to Enmax.


  7. Wow- having read this blog I am seeing Calgary Transit drivers in a new light. Its simply unfair to expected anyone to work a twelve hour day made up of split shifts. If my boss wants me to be available for 12 hours a day I get paid for 12 hours. Sometimes we will have “downtime” in the middle of the day but we still get paid. Never has anyone been asked to go home then come back later. Why do you guys put up with this???


  8. one of my friend work@ CT, he said that’s part of the Union Contract so they can’t do much unless you been with that company for MANY years(also because the nature of the job too as in AM rush hour bus and PM rush hour bus), and as well their really old scheduling system/management style.

    i think CT need alot of updates fast, like the OLD OLD buses, the paper transfers…. etc
    i don’t take transit that often, but every time i’m on it,honestly i see no less than 5 fare evaders with their lame excuses and the bus driver doesn’t seem to care and just let them ride most the time, i am sure CT’s 15% revenue goes to those people, i usually take the 73 for 1 hour to go to work if i don’t have my car that day,so 1hr = 5 x $2.75, on 1 bus, that’s alot of money there if count all the buses and C-train over a 24hour period. ouch to CT. they should make a better system for that, i know is courteous public service, but to see fare evaders everytime i use the service means there’s little problem. yet i haven’t got the face/guts to ask for free ride. *sadface*
    also is nice to have bus driver as friend for updated closesure,detours,break down, etc, because CT doesn’t do too well informing riders about them!


    1. Gah, sounds like the gap between union and management continues to widen. And four hours just seems utterly unreasonable, even if just to address safety concerns. Oy.


  9. I am currently doing some research into Calgary Transit.

    Firstly, I want to address the fair issue. $2.75 is a bucket load of money every time a citizen enters the bus. It is the citizens of Calgary’s environmental responsibility to promote public transit and car pooling. I know we are talking about over-consuming Alberta (Let’s mine through our landfills inefficiently after we have thrown all our recyclables in it – Alberta), but something’s gotta give. More of our tax dollars should be spent supporting lower fares and the employment of bus drivers. Incentives should be given for punctuality and the scheduling department (as I was told directly from an anonymous Calgary Transit bus driver) should not be reinforced to cut scheduled bus times. This brings me to my next point: buses that are supposed to run every 7 minutes SHOULD run every 7 minutes. We should not have our citizens waiting in rain and snow for half an hour at these peek bus times, risking contracting colds or being fired from work because of unpunctuality. Sure money should be spent on expanding the public transit scope as our city expands, but it should also be spent making sure the system we already have functions efficiently.

    Remember, this is a problem in which not only Calgary Transit as a service system should take accountability for. Bus drivers should still be taking pride in the punctuality on their jobs. Citizens should be standing up for the service they are entitled to . Everyone should be advocating public transit as a necessary means of transportation and that cannot happen until some glitches in the system are ironed straight. It will take more than one voice, and I know the people of Calgary are educated enough to realize public transportation is the future of inner-city/city travel.


  10. Hi Christina,

    The problem is not the punctuality of bus drivers. Most (99%) are highly punctual when showing up for work. Within 30 seconds of a no show at a garage, the standby driver goes out and the guy who didn’t make it on time has what is known as a “late report” and he will have other work for the day. They have to do that because of the way the buses on the lane are arranged. One usually can’t leave if the guy in front hasn’t reported for work.

    On the road, the guy who doesn’t show gets a late report (along with lost pay) and different work. The unfortunate soul driving the bus on the road with no relief has to carry on at least usually for another trip or whenever they can find someone else. He does get double-time for a missed relief, but at the end of a long day, most of us just want to go home.

    Talking about being running off schedule, 90% of it is due to poor amateur schedule making. A lot of routes have well known traffic patterns and passenger loads (at certain times of day) that Calgary Transit refuses to recognize. Their way of doing things is to have the same timing for a trip 3:30am, 7am, 11am, 1pm, 4:30pm, and 10pm. Obviously at 7 to 9 am everyone is racing to get to work so more time is needed to get to whatever station the bus is going to. The reverse is true around 3 to 5pm. In the middle of the day, they don’t need as much time to do a trip. What happens in reality is during rush hour, they cut trip times, so you are always racing and behind. They expect drivers to cut short cuts to make times. If you get caught doing that, you are looking at disciplinary action. Sometimes even doing that its impossible on some routes like the 301 for example due to passenger load and traffic. Off peak, buses sit 5-10 minutes at each time point. Fundamentally that is what is wrong with Calgary Transit’s schedules. They never consult drivers either.

    I have advocated to senior schedulers at CT about running separate schedules in winter time, especially on hilly routes with permanent detours setup (Routes 77, 101,104, 76,174,299,6, 7, 199 come to mind). No more suggestions from me as I’ve been laughed at every opportunity. “can’t be done” is one thing I keep hearing from them.

    What this city needs now more than ever is a Bus Riders union. Other cities have it and it does help in getting better service.


  11. nothing going to change the “late buses” during rush hours unless .. there are”bus only” lanes, i am pretty sure it will get more riders too.
    calgary have way to many cars for it’s poor street layouts.
    should be like, have 1 lane open for buses only @ 6ave and 5ave and 9ave.
    but then people will still use it anyway like @ crowchild Tr bus only lanes, sad calgary drivers.


  12. Calgary is a fucking joke. , Parade Day delays at Stampede were brutal. Last week on Saturday after the fireworks, an accident. 2 hours to go home.

    This week: multiple overhead power problems Monday to Wednesday. 1 and a half hours to get from Somerset to Downtown each of these days. 3 days to figure out a problem? really?

    Continuing this week’s shame: Thursday: accident right at 4:30pm. Of course, good old CT had no shuttle buses for anyone going NW until 5:30 pm. Thousands gathered at 8 st and 7 Ave West waiting for shuttle buses that never showed until the accident cleared.

    Seriously, someone’s ass should be getting fired for GROSS INCOMPETENCE. How do senior management at CT keep their jobs and actually get bonuses for providing shitty service year after year?


  13. I have a small something to add to the slow conversation that is going on here…

    I live in Valley Ridge, and for the last two years I went to SAIT, which I’m sure you know has a CTrain Terminal at it, so naturally (as I’m required to pay $110 per semester for a stupid pass) I attempted to use transit one day. I didn’t know much about it other than I had taken the 408 from Valley Ridge to Bowness High School when i was there, and it seemed okay. At that time, the closest NW C-Train station was Dalhousie, and the 408 went to brentwood, not a big deal as it’s only about 3-5 minutes away.

    When I looked up the (what I thought logically would be updated) route for the 408 to the new crowfoot station, I was amused to find out that CT had decided to keep the 408 running to brentwood, instead of crowfoot (which is much, much, much closer)

    So, breaking down my average day of taking calgary transit to school with a class at 8:00 am looked like this:

    Get on 408 @ 6:00, arrive at brentwood @ 7:15, on train @ 7:25, arrive at SAIT @ 7:55, rush to class.

    Now I am graduated from SAIT and going to MRU in the fall, I’m not even going to attempt to work that out, CT should just grab me by my ankles and shake my $115 per semester out of my pockets.

    Anyways, to my main point, does it make any sense at all, that the 408 (Valley Ridge) bus goes to brentwood instead of crowfoot? The tuscany, and scenic acres, rocky ridge all go to crowfoot, why would we be any different? It’s extremely inconvenient


  14. Hi Jordan,

    The 408 goes to Brentwood. It never went to Dalhousie. As a bus operator, I found it to be one of the best routes to drive (except in the snow).

    It seems a bit silly the way the route has to go into Canada Olympic Park TWO times PER TRIP regardless of anyone wanting to go there or not. The Route goes from Brentwood down 32nd Ave to Market Mall, turning left around at around 49 st. Then it goes down the hill on Home Road, intersecting Bowness Road and then turning right onto 16 Ave westbound. It then exits to Sarcee Tr towards Bowness and you end up at Bowness and 77th. A left turn at 83 St, thru Bowfort Road and into COP. Then westbound 16th to Valley Ridge, there’s two time points there. At each one, the operator has to back up the bus as their is no proper turn around. This is despite the fact that it has been over 6 years since they converted the route from community shuttle bus to conventional bus. After servicing both sides of Valley Ridge, the bus then does a loop in Crestmont. Afterwards back to COP and the rest of the routing is the same in reverse back to Brentwood. 45 minutes is one complete trip.

    Most times the bus has to kill excess time at 2 timepoints in Valley Ridge, 1 timepoint in Crestmont, and twice in COP, and occasionally even kill time at Bowness Rd and 77th.

    45 minutes to and from Brentwood from Valley Ridge is too much time. A 20-30 min round trip could be easily designed to Crowfoot and I am sure an even faster route could be designed going to the new Tuscany LRT station.

    The problem is not the people driving the buses. The problem is the people who design these routes who have never had the chance to ride these routes or drive a bus in service on them. Another problem is lack of people calling to complain to 403-262-1000 to officially complain. A more effective way would be to get in touch with your Alderman (City Councillor?) or you could tweet Nenshi.


  15. Hi, thanks for your response

    Im sorry if it seemed like I was blaming the bus drivers that wasnt what I meant. I was placing blame with the planners and I have placed an official complaint with the city.

    I agree with the 20 minute trip to crowfoot and although the 408 is a good route as it works for COP, market mall, u of c and so on it DOES NOT work for the ctrain, which should be the primary concern.


  16. Jordan,

    Calling your Alderman (Councillor) will be more effective, but only if more of your neighbors also make similar calls.

    BTW – for anyone wondering, the C-train Driver who was caught doing a crossword puzzle while driving C-train and subsequently fired, has now gotten his job back and is now driving buses for Calgary Transit. Calgary Sun would love this story.


  17. I don’t even bother taking Calgary Transit due to waiting time, even though I have been try to convince a bus route to be changed so that it travels towards city centre and not further out in the suburbs.

    Level of rudeness of Transit Operators varies from those who don’t even look at your bus pass to those who simply yell at passengers to jam to the back of the bus so that they can pack more people in during rush hour.


  18. Bus drivers know that eventhough checking fares is part of their duties, they are not to do it to the point of confrontation. Also, CT doesn’t back drivers who fight with passengers for fare.

    There is also a rule about not being in front of yellow line to obstruct the driver’s view of mirrors. There is a ponying where the bus gets too full I safely take anyone else on board. If you let people up to the windshield and get cut off by a small car a short distance later and have to slam the brakes, somebody will go through the windshield. Often times the driver is just doing his job and asking people to move back. People either ignore tr driver or don’t want to get close to others on bus. The driver doesn’t want to leave anyone behind but if no one moves then that is what is going to happen. It’s all about safety. The bus driver is 100% responsible for the personal safety of people riding the bus.


  19. Agree with so many points!!!
    I’m not a lengthy speaker; my blog simply has snippets of CT issues but I’m certain CT reads it.
    I’m going to track back to this post – even a few years old, it’s still perfectly true!


  20. Thanks, David!

    Thankfully, CT has improved somewhat since I first wrote this, but there are still some larger problems that need to be solved. Hopefully my comments engine doesn’t break AGAIN, and we’ll get some feedback from folks like BusDriver.


  21. It hasn’t been released to media yet, but union and City have reached a new contract dating back to Jan 2, 2012, a 2 year deal with 3% in each year and c-train operators to be making 10% more than bus operators effective sept 2012. Not all detail was released even to workers by the union. 62% for the agreement but most did not know the details and only half of membership showed up to vote. Working conditions were not touched by this agreement except for 60 hour operators who are losing their right to bid on weekly work. A sore point amongst many drivers is that although we will all make more money, nothing was done to improve our working conditions by the union. Both the union bosses and the city have kept this deal and its passing air tight hush hush.


  22. The 199 has gone downhill in quality. The Arbour Lakers hog it, and it no longer has enough time. Before Crowfoot, it was constantly early. Now, it’s constantly late. The train connections don’t help. If a driver isn’t a douche and decides to wait after the departure time, it screws him up completely.


  23. We are getting the C train GREAT!!!! and HORRIBLE!!

    I live in the Strathcona area and have asked for the last number of years at every C-train public meeting; How come it take 12 minutes to drive from Strathcona to Westhills and it takes 3 buses and 1.5 hours for my child to get to work at Earls in Westhills from my house. No answers and I have ask Alderman Pootmans for an answer and nothing. Plus I have forwarded the same letter since i got no answer to Mayor Neshi and never heard from his office either.  Who is running the transit system; the union or the elected officials? They sure are not listening to the Ward. This is a city up here and we cannot get around in the area much less off the hill

    At this point my daughter wants to meet friend at the Westhills Cinema’s in the evening: Mom has to drive. She can get to Chinook Cinemas faster. Yet Calgary Transit wants to run’s 5 buses through the Richmond Hill and yet they cannot get my daughter to the Westhills in 1/2 hour.


Now we are faced with the Brilliance of the Transit;  we were thinly served up here and many times you would wait for a bus that did not show for at least once a trip  and now they have taken all the buses that leave the hill such as the 104 and 101 and (sorry don’t know all the ones that run through Richmond HIll) and are running everything  to the c train. The C train should be a supplement not a replacement for what was barely covering Transit service before.  If you live in Strathcona,  Coach Hill  or any of the neighbourhoods up in the Westhills. please get a hold of Alderman’s Pootmans says he has not heard from anyone.  Or send an email to the Mayors office and the Alderman’s office 


  24. You have to take the time to learn the new routes in your area. Communities like Arbour Lake, Shawnessy, Tuscany have all been through this before with c-train extensions near them and the loss of their community’s express buses. They didn’t spend one billion+ dollars to keep all those buses rolling on the 108,101, 104, 301 West, etc. The C-train was meant as a replacement to those routes. The new route 94 will actually go from Strathcona past West Hills movie theatre (Richmond Road and Stewart Green SW). I am not sure of the timings but it just started a week ago from today. They are supposed to review all routes after a few months and maybe change some of them.


  25. Here’s the thing, Lori: If you didn’t want your bus to stop going downtown, then you shouldn’t have gotten the CTrain. If you wanted your connections to Westhills, MRU, etc. to be better, then that’s what you got. The CTrain can be great during bad weather, as it bypasses accidents on the road, and just traffic in general. Unfortunately, there are too little communities in your area that didn’t have direct downtown bus service, so the only way for the train to collect revenue was to have all those outerlying communities to get feeder bus service.


  26. Actually, now that I think about it, I’m the only one here who has to ride CT’s school buses. You’re all complaining about buses not showing up. But guess what? Having to ride 1 bus when there are supposed to be 2, and then having to deal with drivers that wait till they drive our bus to express their rage from their prevous runs? You never have to deal with that. Also, the teachers just yell at you when you walk in late, because of the bus showing up literally an hour and a half late, or the driver is so stupid that they dont listen to you when they make a wrong turn. If the driver hears someone talking loudly, they pull over the bus, and start screaming at you.
    The driver then tells our principal, who then CALMLY tells us to stop. He doesnt yell.


  27. I actively pick work that does not involve taking any type of school kids to or from school. Its a zoo after school and in the morning it can be like that too. I drive buses. I shouldn’t have to deal with babysitting someone else’s kids. The yellow school bus drivers might be used to kids yelling and talking loudly all through the trip. I find it distracting and annoying and will pull over until they quiet down. As far as a bus being missing (2 instead of 1), that’s up to the school to take care of. A lot of times is crappy scheduling. 1 bus will come off a run from other side of town in heavy traffic and be delayed starting the school run meanwhile the other bus is on time because it just came in service from closeby garage. Not really the driver’s fault.


  28. True, true. But one driver actually complemented my group for being so quiet, and all the other drivers are just plain rude. One driver doing the second afternoon run from my school back in September actually blocked the doorway. if you didn’t show him a pass, he wouldn’t let you on. Also, and this made literally everyone take the other bus, he told us that the garbage bin at the front of ther bus was for transfers only, nothing else. So, being pretty pissed off about that, I stood up for everyone, and asked him “If we aren’t allowed to put garbage in there, then why is there garbage in the bin?” He then piled on the brakes, turned around at me, and started yelling about how I was over the yellow line(which I wasn’t), yelled at me about the bin being for transfers only, then yelled at me “Do you understand?!” I said I didn’t at which point he kicked me off, and told me I wasn’t allowed back on transit, period. An e-mail to proved another looking into it situation.


  29. Still sucks and this post was posted 8 years ago! Last two buses of the night never came to my stop as posted in the schedule! Now im stuck in a garage till morning.


  30. Those buses probably left really early. There have been a couple times where I’ve tried catching the last bus from Crowfoot, and the driver simply took off over 10 minutes early! Thanks, your 10 minutes of gained sleep cost me nearly an hour of mine!


  31. Has anyone tried taking the south train home during rush hour (Deemed 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.)

    You’re lucky if you can actually get ON the train…doesn’t matter which stop, you’ll be hard pressed to get on. NE trains come by and just before they leave downtown they are still pretty much half full. South train, good luck. You’re better off taking the train all the way to the west end of downtown, switching over to a south train and hope you can fit in. The NW and West trains are the same as the NE trains….you can at least get on the fricken train. I’ve waited for almost 30 min before I could actually get into a train during winter time…not fun.

    Transit says they run a ratio of 1.4 to 1 for south vs north trains (equates roughly into a 3-2 ratio) and I have yet to see this even remotely consistent. IN fact, most of the time its the other way around…I see more back to back NE trains then I do anything else….


  32. Did you know that Calgary made plans to build actual subways like New York’s, but since they built it during a recession, they stuck with light rail?


  33. want to be a world class city? try hiring and training drivers who can drive and understand english.
    poor driving training,lack of people skills and no knowledge of the city. dont ever ask for help to get anywhere. shameful and witnessed personally dangerous situations but always go for the least common denominator. i’ve driven tour bus many years and it makes me sick.


  34. I’m getting extremely tired of how crappy Transit has been in Calgary, especially lately! The trains aren’t so bad, its more so the buses. Just today I called to see when the bus would come and it said 4:39, I called again a little later to be sure and this time it said 4:46. I got there and to my surprise no bus! It was 4:40, I called a third time and it said bus comes in 30 mins. Make up your Damn mind! Stick to a freaking schedule and actually show up on time!! I’ve almost been late to work numerous times thanks to the bus not showing up or being late!
    I’m also appalled by the service some of these bus drivers are giving. My friend just recently had leg surgery done and has a cast. We decided to go to Chinook and watch a movie. She has to walk with crutches so when we got to the train station we thought we’d take the Chinook shuttle bus. The bus pulls up and its a bit to high for my friend who has a cast covering the majority of her leg, so we ask the driver to lower the ramp. He literally just stares at her says nothing and doesn’t lower the ramp. I ask him again nothing. So my friend tried her best to get on, tripping in the process. Luckily she caught herself on the rail and an old man and myself helped her get her footing. We finally get to Chinook and again I ask the guy to lower the ramp and he stares at her again and says no. What the actual Fuck! This pissed me off so much! If she hadn’t caught herself when she tripped she could have seriously injured her leg, most likely resulting in more surgery. I expect way more from bus drivers. Majority of the ones I’ve had have been very accommodating and kind, this guy was a complete asshole! So when transit says they have accommodations for people who need it and then that happens, it makes me think they don’t give a shit.
    Something needs to be done to make Calgary transit better. Too many people rely on it for it to let us down this often! They need to get their shit together, and also stop raising the prices, its ridiculous that I have to pay $3.15 for a ticket!


  35. Chandra, it may be helpful to have pocket schedules for your common routes on hand, because the “real time” information has yet to have its bugs fixed. As well, I’m willing to bet hat driver didn’t even know how to operate the ramp. These are just two of many problems that plagues this city’s transit. Management does a terrible job of relating to the public, the drivers and the system overall. The people in management have never been out driving or riding the service; they blindly make service decisions based on “count cards” that are done four times a year that can be falsified to fit a driver’s wants. If a driver likes a particular run but fears it might get cut due to low ridership, all they have to do is right some numbers on the paper given out and management will be none the wiser. You also can’t forget about the whole connect card debacle. Did you know they gave every driver an hour’s pay to sit in on a meeting on how to use the system? They also say they’re going to sue to get their $5 million back. Guess who’s gonna foot the bill for the city’s legal fees?


  36. nothing has fn changed, just getting home from volunteering at globalfest. the fn assholes decide to detour the 45 but no signs no nothing to inform the customer, do you think they might inform someone at globalfest so they can tell the thousands of volunteers who rely on that bus, that kind of thought process is way beyond them. what a waste of 2 hours to finally get home. # 1 the bus does not need to be rerouted, if it’s for g.f. and you stupid fn assholes who were to stupid or to lazy to inform people of your dumb change BLOW ME you must feel guilty when you get your paycheque cause your so fn useless


  37. Transit is better with the new app but about half the time the app malfunctions weirdly . Also this is to get it out there .its just been eating me out. Irrelevant to this article . I was having a heart to heart conversation with a friend of mine and the bus came and i didnt stop talking . Apparently that was considered rude and a guy came and yelled at me. Im putting this out there . Im sorry for not considering ettiquette and that really ruined my week and i havent taken that bus ever since . Sometimes calgary transit isnt shitty , its just the people on it that make it shitty and sorry to say im guilty for it


  38. The worst is when bus drivers leave ahead of their scheduled time of departure. Specially when they see the train pull in and they drive off leaving the riders high and dry to wait for the next bus. I have reported the matter several times but Calgary transit does not seem to care.


  39. It’s 2015 now…. It’s gotten worse, not better. I’m sitting in a cab as I type because 3 buses in a row on my route just never came. It’s absolutely insane


  40. Oct 2016 and Nothing has changed. Bus service has gotten worse. Trains still packed like sardines along with regular major mechanical problems. There really is no accountability for those who run CT. If this was a private company, all top managers would have been fired long ago.


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