March 18, 2020
An operator standing in front of his bus

We know our customers rely on our service and that any changes we make will have major impacts to Calgarians. Thank you for your patience and understanding through this difficult time. Please make sure to keep yourselves safe and check on your family and friends.

Due to the significant decrease in ridership and revenue from fare collection, we are making changes to our service on May 25. Click here to learn more about the service changes and read the frequently asked questions below for more information on our COVID-19 response.

Wearing a cloth face covering is voluntary but it is a decision you can make to slow the spread of COVID-19. We are asking our customers and operators to please join together and choose to wear cloth face coverings on transit. Along with hand washing and social distancing, volunteering to wear a mask can work to protect you and everyone around you.

Frequently Asked Questions

For Customers

Do I have to wear a mask?

Wearing a cloth mask is not mandatory while taking transit, however, together with social distancing and hand washing, wearing a face covering helps prevent the spread of COVID-19. We’re asking our customers to work with us on slowing the spread by volunteering to wear a cloth face covering when riding with us to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to keep each other safe.

Why are you cancelling service when things are starting to ramp up?

We are responding to changes in demand and revenue and don’t anticipate ridership to return to pre-pandemic levels immediately. We have seen a significant loss in revenue and it is very difficult to maintain service levels. As the city gradually re-opens, we will continue to monitor our service levels and make changes as necessary.

Is transit free?

No. Transit fares are still in effect. We are not offering paper transfers or accepting cash payment for the duration of the state of local emergency.  We are trusting Calgarians to be honest and pay their fares.  Customers with a single-use ticket can tear them and hang on to the pieces. They have 90 minutes to travel/transfer.  Fare payment is an important part of being able to continue to provide transit service. We are currently losing approximately $13 million per month and it is very difficult to sustain transit service under those circumstances. We will be looking to increase fare enforcement in the coming weeks.

Why do I need to pay a fare?

The pandemic has significantly reduced our ridership and fare revenue. We rely heavily on revenue from fares, which accounts for approximately half our operating cost per trip. We are asking Calgarians to support us so we can continue providing essential services to our city.

 When will we get transit service back to where it way?

We expect the service reduction that’s beginning on May 25 to last until September. We will continue to monitor our service and make changes as necessary for September service. September service may not look the same as it did before the pandemic began, and will depend on demand and ridership.

Will there be more cuts to service?

Decisions to cut service are made very carefully, understanding that our customers rely on us to get where they need to go. We don’t have plans to further cut service at this time, but it will depend on ridership and revenue from fare collection.

Some buses are full, what are you doing to address that?

We continue to monitor our bus service daily, using information from operators, customers, and staff who go out in the network to count riders on our buses. If we see routes that have consistent overloads, we will try to add service to those routes. 

Do customers need to wear masks or face coverings?

Although face coverings are not mandatory they are recommended by the Chief Medical Officer of Alberta to help prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

For Employees

When service resumes, what happens to the employees that were laid off?

We’re not sure when ridership and demand for transit service will start to increase, but that will be a major factor in deciding when to increase service levels. We will continue to monitor the situation and will add service as things improve. If and when we decide to add service, the required number of employees will be recalled according to the appropriate collective agreements.

Do I need to wear a mask/face covering?

Choosing to wear a non-medical mask or cloth face covering is an individual decision. We’re asking our operators to volunteer to wear cloth face coverings in situations where keeping 2 metres of space isn’t possible. If you choose to wear a cloth mask, you’re joining customers who have also made the choice and together, we can work together to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep each other safe.

When will the shields be installed in shuttle buses? What is the plan for big bus?

Shield installation on shuttles is already well underway and we’re completing about 12 vehicles a day. We expect to finish all shuttle shield installations by the end of May. We’re awaiting a big bus shield prototype and expect it to be available by June 1. Once it arrives, we’ll get feedback on it from ATU Local 583 and our employees. We’ll then install a shield on a big bus and send it out on the road for testing. If all goes well, we’re targeting to complete all big bus shield installations by July 1. After shields are in place, we will review our rear-door boarding policy.

Do we collect fares?

We depend on fare revenue to keep transit going. Recent decreases in revenue from fare collection have significantly contributed to service cuts and layoffs. We are currently losing approximately $13 million per month due to loss in revenue. Although we do not expect operators to enforce fare payment, it is important to inform customers that they do still require fares. We rely on our customers to be honest during this challenging time.

Were other options considered instead of layoffs?

We did consider a number of options, but these options were not accepted. The loss in revenue is significant and unfortunately, we had to make the difficult decision to layoff employees.

I’m having a hard time getting through to the HR service centre, what should I do?

Please reach out to your HR Business Partner or email the CT Notifications email that was provided to you in your information package. If you do not know who your HR Business Partner is, please reach out to your supervisor.

For Calgarians

Should I wear a cloth face covering?

We are asking our customers and operators to join together in volunteering to wear cloth face coverings in situations where keeping 2 metres of space isn’t possible. Agreeing to wear masks together means we’re all doing our best to protect one another and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Why are we making cuts when we are re-opening the city?

The covid-19 pandemic has had significant impacts to our ridership and revenue. Currently, we are losing approximately $13 million per month. We do not anticipate ridership to return to the same levels prior to the pandemic in the immediate future. We will continue to monitor service and make adjustments as ridership and demand start to increase.

What are other cities doing?

Other cities in Canada have been approaching transit service in a similar fashion. Some cities have seen aggressive layoffs and service cuts, while others take a modest approach to service reductions. Each city is unique and has their own opportunities and challenges. Representatives from all transit agencies within Canada meet regularly to share information about what they are doing, what challenges they have and what measures have brought them success.

Why are buses running with less people?

We still provide transit service to over 100,000 customers per day. Transit remains an important service to Calgarians that connects them to places that matter to them, including hospitals, work and the grocery store. In order to provide physical distancing, our buses are running with approximately 50 per cent capacity.

Why does my street now have a big bus when it used to have a community shuttle?

In order to help provide social distancing for customers, we have replaced shuttle buses with bigger buses on some of our busier routes.