Edmonton Transit System

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Edmonton Transit System
Edmonton Transit System logo with text.svg
ETS bus 4299.jpg
Slogan Your Every Day Way
Parent City of Edmonton
Founded 1908
Headquarters Edmonton, Alberta
Locale PO Box 2610, Stn. Main Edmonton, AB
Service area Edmonton, Alberta
Service type Public Transit
Routes 209;[1] 2 LRT routes
Stops 6803[2]
Hubs 26[3]
Stations 18 (LRT)
~7000 bus stops[3]
Fleet 928 buses (As of 2016)[4]
94 light rail vehicles
98 DATS vehicles[2]
Daily ridership 397,402 (weekday)[5]
Fuel type Bus: diesel, electric (trial),[6] CNG (trial)[7]
LRT: electric
Operator City of Edmonton
Chief executive Eddie Robar (Manager)
Website Official site

The Edmonton Transit System, also called ETS, is the public transit service owned and operated by the city of Edmonton, Alberta. It operates Edmonton's bus and light rail systems.


High Level Rail Bridge with lower LRT bridge and train crossing

ETS provides service on buses and light-rail transit within the City of Edmonton limits, in addition to Fort Saskatchewan, Spruce Grove, and the Edmonton Garrison at Namao. It also provides connections to suburban transit services operated by the City of St. Albert and Strathcona County. Another trial service to Beaumont in 2003-2004 was discontinued due to low ridership. ETS provides service to the Edmonton International Airport, while Leduc Transit provides bus service to Leduc.

ETS operates an entire fleet of accessible low floor buses,[8] which have been progressively introduced into the system since 1993. These include the 858 40-foot (12 m) New Flyer D40LF, and the 33 60-foot (18 m) D60LF articulated models.

ETS uses the timed-transfer system, where suburban feeder routes run to a transit centre, and passengers can then transfer to a base route/LRT to the city centre or the university. Some feeder routes provide direct express service to and from the city centre.

The Ookspress was a free express route that ferried people from Churchill Station directly to the main NAIT campus that primarily used electric buses.[9] The Ookspress was cancelled when the Metro Line opened on September 6, 2015.[10]

Smart Bus[edit]

A new feature on ETS, Smart buses have since July 2013, seen operating on several routes, the trial routes were 111 which went from West Edmonton Mall to Downtown and 128 which went from Castle Downs to University, This system respectively used 45 buses. As of November 2014, there are 22 routes equipped,.[11][12][13][14][15] Real time departure boards are installed at University Transit Centre as well as West Edmonton Mall Transit Centre, as well as real time bus arrival information on personal computers and mobile data, branded together as ETS LIVE. A mobile app, ETS Live to Go, has been released.[11] Over 750 buses have Smart Bus technology as of May 2016.[16] The buses equipped possess automatic audio visual stop announcers of the next bus stop described by its nearest intersection, a computer aided dispatch which informs the control centre where a bus is, as well as monitor incidents. Mobile data terminals inform the drivers how to drive a route if they are unfamiliar, as well as if they are late or not. The buses equipped have internal covert cameras to monitor safety.[17][18] City council has approved funding for Smartbus deployment on all bus routes as of 2019 and 2020.[19] On September 4th 2016, all 928 busses in the ETS fleet had been fully equipped with Smart bus technology, earlier than initially planned.[20]

Late Night Owl Service

Night service began in September 2015. Routes 1, 4, 8, and 9 and 512. These buses operate until 3:30 AM. Morning service then resumes around 5:00 AM.

LRT route night service is provided by Route 512 which stops close to each Capital Line LRT station overnight, from Clareview to Downtown.[21]

Other routes end service at varying times.


In May 2007, Edmonton Transit Security were appointed Peace Officers under the Alberta Peace Officer Act. Transit Peace Officers can hand out tickets for Provincial Statutes and Edmonton bylaws on Transit property. Transit Security uses Crown Victoria Police Interceptor cruisers as their main source of transportation, but are also seen riding the LRT enforcing bylaws.

List of transit centres[edit]

Bus on Route 51

* Transit Centre at LRT Station


ETS numbers its bus routes based on the community they serve, with numbers 1-29 being base routes. Routes numbered 30-99 are south Edmonton routes, while routes 100-199 run north of the river. For example, routes 60 to 79 are located in Mill Woods, while routes 160-179 are located in Castle Downs. Due to a shortage of numbers in allocation of route numbers, there are a number of exceptions (39, 59, 92, 93, 95, 98, 133, 136, 138, 139, 145). Furthermore, commuter routes have been allocated numbers 196-199. All routes are serviced by accessible low floor buses.[22]


  • Centennial Garage - bus facility: historic fleet storage; opened 2010
  • Cromdale Garage - bus facility and former Edmonton Radial Railway trolley bus/streetcar barn: Torn down in 2014.
  • D.L. MacDonald Yard - LRT storage and repair facility; opened 1983
  • Ferrier Garage - bus facility; formerly trolley bus barn
  • Mitchell Garage - bus facility; formerly trolley bus barn
  • Paterson Garage - bus garage; bus disposal facility
  • Percy Wickman Garage - Disabled Adult Transit Service (DATS) facility
  • Westwood Garage - bus garage; opened 1961


Former systems[edit]

Trolley bus system[edit]

ETS trolley bus

Trolley bus service in Edmonton started on September 24, 1939, operating on route 5 from 101 St/Jasper Ave to 95 St/111 Ave. By the end of October of that year, service had started on another route running to 99 St/Whyte Ave via the Low Level Bridge. In Edmonton, trolley buses were often referred to simply as "trolleys".

The trolley bus system used a mixture of Ohio Brass and K&M Elastic (Swiss) suspension for holding up the overhead wires.

The 47 vehicles remaining in use in 2008 were from an order of 100 manufactured in 1981-2 by Brown Boveri & Company (BBC), using bodies and chassis supplied to BBC by GM.[citation needed]

On June 18, 2008, city council voted 7 to 6 in favour of phasing out the trolley system in 2009 and 2010.[23] However, city council decided in April 2009 that trolley bus service would be discontinued earlier than originally planned, in order to reduce the city's expected $35 million deficit in 2009.[24] The last day of regular service was May 2, 2009.[25]

In 2008, a low-floor model of trolley was leased from Coast Mountain Bus Company, Vancouver's bus operating company, for testing of possible benefits of low-floor trolleys over hybrid diesel buses. During its time in Edmonton the bus was numbered 6000, but was returned to its original #2242 when returned to Vancouver.[26]


Edmonton operated streetcars from 1908 to 1952, some of which are now owned by the Edmonton Radial Railway Society.

Current systems[edit]


An Edmonton LRT train at Health Sciences Station.
ETS SD-160 car 1039

ETS operates a 20.5 km light rail route with fifteen stations. The Capital Line runs roughly north-south, between northeast Edmonton and the Century Park community, with a mix of tunnels and at-grade track. Six stations are underground, while the remaining nine are at-grade.

In 2015 the Metro Line was opened, interlining with the Capital Line on some sections and servicing the central and north-central area of the city.[27]

The train shown to the right was made in West Germany by Siemens/DÜWAG. The same type of vehicle has operated on several underground lines in Frankfurt am Main since 1968 as type U-2. ETS also has Siemens SD-160s from Siemens. These were delivered to accommodate four new stations which opened in 2009 and 2010.

Hybrid/electric buses[edit]

Further information: Hybrid Technology

The City of Edmonton embarked on an eight-month evaluation of 13 clean-diesel and hybrid buses (and a new trolley bus) in 2008. Edmonton Transit's first two diesel electric hybrid buses went into service in December 2006.[28] The unique design and colour scheme of the two Orion low floor buses have been chosen to enable them to 'stand out' from the rest of the ETS fleet. The buses were part of an extensive test of hybrid technology that Edmonton Transit and the University of Alberta conducted over a year. Bus reliability, performance, maintenance costs, fuel efficiency, noise generation and environmental impact were monitored and evaluated in all weather and road conditions. As well, customers were surveyed about their travel experience. Ultimately, the Hybrid buses only recorded fuel savings of 10-20% (in contrast to the 35% touted in the internal ads). In addition, the ISE-New Flyer hybrids (6003 and 6004) were out of service so much that they could not be included in the evaluation.

As of fall 2009, only the two Orion hybrids are in service. New Flyer/ISE hybrids 6003 and 6004 have been parked in the Paterson compound since the early spring, and have since been converted to diesel buses as of 2011, while New Flyer/Allison 6001 was damaged beyond repair in an accident. New Flyer/Allison 6002 was revamped with new features and technology to become the ETS Platinum Bus, also referred to as the "Painted Lady".[29]

In Spring 2014 ETS unveiled a full electric bus for a four-month pilot program running until October 2014. The buses are referred to as "ETS Stealth Buses" and are on lease from Build Your Dreams (BYD) Co. Ltd.. The buses do not have a fare box at the moment, but instead are accepting customer surveys about electric buses as fare.[30] Even without fare capacity the buses will be placed on several different routes around the city to give many Edmontonians the ability to experience the new exhaust-less bus. The current electric bus is not winterized, but if the city moves forward with the electric bus program they intend to acquire buses with full winter capabilities.


In December 2014, Edmonton City Council approved SmartFare, which comprises an electronic farecard and intermunicipal fare structure. SmartFare is due to be fully implemented in 2019.[19]


The table below lists fares as of August 8, 2016.[31]

Youth (6-18) Adult (19-65) Senior (65+)
Cash $3.25
10 Ticket Pack $21.50 $24.75 $21.50
20 Ticket Pack $42
Day Pass $9.25
Monthly Pass $69 $91.50 $14.50
Annual Pass N/A $128.75

Conditional fares[edit]

ETS provides several discounts for students and the disadvantaged.

  • Low income seniors can pay $55.75 for an annual pass instead of the listed $128.75.
  • Public school students can purchase monthly passes from their schools at a subsidized rate ranging from $27-66 depending on grade and location.[32]
  • Catholic school students can purchase monthly passes ranging from $30-50.[33]
  • Families (1 adult and up to four children age 12 and under) are entitled to travel on ETS all day with the use of a valid day pass.
  • Post-secondary students at approved post-secondary institutions may purchase a monthly pass at the discounted rate of $81.
  • ETS has partnered with the University of Alberta, NorQuest College, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and MacEwan University to provide students with a Universal Transit Pass (U-Pass), allowing unlimited access to St Albert Transit, Strathcona County Transit and ETS bus and light rail systems for a single (four month) school term. As of 2013, University of Alberta students pay $116.67 after a $23.33 subsidy from the University of Alberta while NorQuest College, NAIT and MacEwan University students pay the full $147.50.[34][35][36][37] The U-Pass came into effect September 1, 2007.
  • ETS provides Edmontonains with Disabilities on the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) Program a subsidized Adult Transit pass at a cost of $35 per month (Effective March 1, 2013)


Transit centres[edit]

A park-and-ride transit centre is located at 97 Street NW and 157 Avenue NW in the Eaux Claires neighbourhood.[citation needed] The preliminary engineering of a park-and-ride at 127 Street SW and Ellerslie Road SW is complete. A station will be located there when the funds are available to extend the LRT over Anthony Henday Drive.[38] City staff have recommended that the Heritage Valley Transit Centre and park-and-ride be built starting in January 2018, at a cost of around $20 million because th e park-and-ride lease at Century Park is due to expire.[3] The Kathleen Andrews Transit Garage is a proposed transport depot on Fort Road, named after ETS manager Kathleen Andrews, and covering 300 buses and 700 drivers.[39]

NAIT LRT[edit]

A 3.3 km LRT route from the Churchill Station in downtown Edmonton to the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology is being built. The new line has three stations: one at MacEwan University (MacEwan Station), one on Kingsway Avenue (Kingsway/Royal Alex Station), and one near the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT Station). MacEwan Station is located just east of the campus, and adjacent to Rogers Place, at 104 Street and 105 Avenue. Kingsway Station is located on the north side of Kingsway, to the west of the Royal Alexandra Hospital. As part of the plan, the Kingway Transit Centre will be relocated to the southeast corner of 111 Avenue and 106 Street, to provide service to Kingsway Mall and the Kingsway Station.[40] NAIT Station would be located north of Princess Elizabeth Avenue, on the south side of the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology's swimming pool and hockey arena (S) wing, before a permanent station is built after a long-term comprehensive land use plan of the Edmonton City Centre Airport lands are finalized.[41][42]

Valley Line[edit]

The Valley Line will run for 27 kilometres (17 mi) from Mill Woods through downtown Edmonton to Lewis Farms, with 25 stops. The 11-station segment from Mill Woods to 102 Street in downtown will be constructed first, beginning in 2016 and finishing by 2020. Unlike the existing LRT, the Valley Line will run primarily at grade in the centre median of city streets, connecting to the Capital and Metro lines at Churchill Station.[43] The line will cost $1.8 billion, with $800 million coming from the City of Edmonton, $600 million from Alberta, and $400 million from the federal government. A public–private partnership will be established between the City of Edmonton and a private contractor to build and operate the line.[44]

Long range LRT plans[edit]

City council in the past has looked at creating long range transportation plans that include the LRT reaching St. Albert to the northwest, Lewis Estates in the west (with West Edmonton Mall en route), the Edmonton International Airport and Leduc to the south, Mill Woods in the southeast, and Fort Saskatchewan to the northeast.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ETS Statistics". City of Edmonton. Retrieved November 15, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Request for Qualification Valley Line LRT - Stage 1" (PDF). City of Edmonton. April 23, 2014. Retrieved October 6, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c (PDF) https://web.archive.org/web/20141129034644/http://www.edmonton.ca/city_government/documents/2015_CAPITAL_BUDGET_2015_2018.pdf. Archived from the original (PDF) on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 18, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^ https://www.edmonton.ca/projects_plans/transit/smart-bus-initiative.aspx
  5. ^ "Bus and LRT Boardings 2002-2011" (PDF). City of Edmonton. February 3, 2012. Retrieved February 29, 2012. 
  6. ^ Dubois, Stephanie (August 28, 2014). "City of Edmonton's 'Stealth' buses to be used in new shuttle service for NAIT students". Metro Edmonton. Retrieved October 5, 2014. 
  7. ^ Dubois, Stephanie (April 3, 2014). ""No major issues" for pilot compressed natural gas buses: Edmonton city officials". Metro International. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  8. ^ "Accessible Vehicles". City of Edmonton. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  9. ^ Ookspress up and running (Morning News Edmonton). Global News. September 3, 2014. Retrieved 22 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "Ookspress Bus Schedule". NAIT Students' Association. 14 April 2015. Retrieved 23 April 2015. 
  11. ^ a b "Five more Edmonton transit bus routes to get real time technology | Metro News". Metronews.ca. 2014-10-29. Retrieved 2016-03-09. 
  12. ^ "Four more Edmonton bus routes to get real time technology | Metro News". Metronews.ca. 2014-08-21. Retrieved 2016-03-09. 
  13. ^ "Four more Edmonton bus routes to launch Smart Bus technology | Metro News". Metronews.ca. 2014-06-26. Retrieved 2016-03-09. 
  14. ^ "Two More Routes Get Smart Bus Technology :: City of Edmonton". Edmonton.ca. Retrieved 2016-03-09. 
  15. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20141018121821/http://www.edmonton.ca/transportation/ets/future_transit/smart-bus-initiative.aspx. Archived from the original on October 18, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  16. ^ "Project History - Smart Bus Project :: City of Edmonton". Retrieved May 18, 2016. 
  17. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20141029231503/http://www.edmonton.ca/transportation/ets/future_transit/smart-bus-initiative-frequently-asked-questions.aspx. Archived from the original on October 29, 2014. Retrieved October 29, 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ "Final five Smartbus technology to be installed on Edmonton buses as city awaits province funding | Metro News". Metronews.ca. 2014-12-23. Retrieved 2016-03-09. 
  19. ^ a b "Edmonton council approves Smartbus funding, set to rollout in 2019 | Metro News". Metronews.ca. 2014-12-01. Retrieved 2016-03-09. 
  20. ^ https://www.edmonton.ca/projects_plans/transit/smart-bus-initiative.aspx
  21. ^ "Late night bus service will roll into Edmonton in the fall - Edmonton - CBC News". Cbc.ca. 2014-12-09. Retrieved 2016-03-09. 
  22. ^ "Low Floor Buses". City of Edmonton. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Trolleys reach end of the line". Edmonton Journal. June 19, 2008. Retrieved October 2, 2009. 
  24. ^ Landry, Frank (April 19, 2009). "Mayor targets city honchos". Edmonton Sun. Retrieved February 5, 2010. 
  25. ^ "ETS Trolley Buses". City of Edmonton. Archived from the original on June 16, 2011. Retrieved October 3, 2011. 
  26. ^ "Edmonton Tests new Low Floor Trolley Bus" (PDF). Trolleycoalition.org. Retrieved 2016-03-09. 
  27. ^ Lazzarino, Dave (2015-01-21). "Edmonton's Metro Line now set to open in spring | Alberta | News". Edmonton Sun. Retrieved 2016-03-09. 
  28. ^ [1][dead link]
  29. ^ "ETS Photo Express". Etspe.ca. 2008-11-08. Retrieved 2016-03-09. 
  30. ^ "City Introduces Electric Buses to Edmonton :: City of Edmonton". Edmonton.ca. Retrieved 2016-03-09. 
  31. ^ "Fares". City of Edmonton. Retrieved March 4, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Student Transportation Fees 2012-2013" (PDF). Edmonton Public Schools. May 24, 2012. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  33. ^ "Bus Pass Fees". Edmonton Catholic Schools. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  34. ^ "U-Pass". University of Alberta. Retrieved February 2, 2012. 
  35. ^ "U-Pass". NAIT Students' Association. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  36. ^ "U-Pass FAQ" (PDF). Grant MacEwan University. Retrieved February 2, 2012. 
  37. ^ "U-Pass". NorQuest College. Retrieved Sep 25, 2013. 
  38. ^ "South LRT Extension" (PDF). City of Edmonton. July 2009. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 
  39. ^ "Northeast bus garage could spur Fort Road redevelopment". Edmonton Journal. December 7, 2014. Retrieved 8 January 2015. 
  40. ^ "North LRT to NAIT Route Map" (PDF). City of Edmonton. December 2010. Retrieved 2011-05-01. 
  41. ^ "North LRT Stations". City of Edmonton. Retrieved 2011-05-01. 
  42. ^ "North LRT Fact Sheet" (PDF). City of Edmonton. May 2011. Retrieved 2011-05-01. 
  43. ^ "Valley Line – Stage 1: Mill Woods Town Centre to 102 Street" (PDF). Transforming Edmonton. City of Edmonton. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 
  44. ^ Kornik, Slav (November 6, 2014). "Edmonton groups demand more info on LRT expansion". Global News. Retrieved 8 April 2015. 

External links[edit]