Edmonton Could Cancel Public Transit For The Summer Because They're Too Broke
They're calling on Kenney to help.
It seems like Edmonton locals could have a tough time catching the bus this summer. While fewer people are out and about due to the pandemic, the city has found itself in a hard place financially. In fact, Edmonton Transit Service could be cancelled for the summer altogether if the city doesn't get more money.
A City of Edmonton spokesperson, Cheryl Oxford, told Narcity in an email that mayoris concerned that the city will have to cut transit if they don't get funding.
The city is looking to get funding from either the Government of Alberta or the Government of Canada to "help cover revenue losses from transit," said Oxford.
The spokesperson said that the city will need $57 million for transit if the COVID-19 related conditions and revenue losses go all the way into September.
But the number keeps growing every month, she added.
So right now, the city's transit "has been cut back dramatically and continues to be a big pressure point," she said.
Oxford also added that the money lost in transit makes up as one of the city's biggest financial losses.
Yet shutting down transit would be an "absolute last resort," she said.
Mayor Don Iveson told CBC News that one possibility is that the city spends less on transit in the summer months so they have more to spend for the .
At the moment, Edmonton Transit Service has scrapped fares for all their services and they've also shut down a number of routes.
Iveson also said that a lot of money is directed toward buying PPE and other safety equipment for operators.
On April 27, the city laid off around 900 employees, half of those people were transit service workers, according to a news release.
But it seems like more changes could be headed to Edmonton's streets if they don't get emergency funding right away.
Iveson told CBC News that he does expect to reinstate the fares again, but it has to be done in a safe way, he said.
Edmonton might try some sort of electronic payment method instead of just cash as payment, said Iveson.
At the moment, he is waiting to hear from the province after Premierand Prime Minister Trudeau discuss the situation.
Last week, a bunch of municipal leaders in the Edmonton region sent a letter to the Government of Alberta, asking for more money and aid.