Lethbridge City Council is considering making some temporary modifications to transit service in an effort to save over $1.4 million.

Acting Transit Manager, Kim Gallucci, told Council Monday (Oct 19) that transit ridership has been consistently down by about 70%, and Access-a-Ride has been down similarly by about 60% since buses returned to full service in August.

A ride-by-reservation system was previously used at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to accommodate for health protocols.

Gallucci says those low ridership numbers will likely continue until at least September 2021 or if significant developments regarding the health crisis, like a vaccine or home testing kits, are achieved before then.

It’s proposed that transit should be reduced to one hour service during non-peak hour, but maintain its 30 minute schedule during peak weekday times. That change would result in a reduction of 345 service hours and a cost savings of $1.06 million over a 52 week period.

Additionally, Access-a-Ride service would drop 200 service hours per week, totalling just under $365,000 in savings over the same time frame.

If approved by City Council, those service adjustments would be implemented over 40 to 50 days in order to properly adjust route times and communicate the change both internally and with the community.

The issue has been referred to administration to provide further information and it will come back for a decision at the Nov. 2nd City Council meeting.