Barlow closes next month for new runway
By Jason Markusoff, Calgary Herald March 15, 2011
The new Route 100 transit link gets riders from the airport to downtown in about twice the time as a taxi for a fraction of the price, but that’s not the math most passengers on the bus were running through their heads on Monday.
The new service replaces Route 57, which may have been meandering and indirect, but at least it was reliable and quick for its main users: airport workers who live in the northeast.
A few minutes before her 4 p.m. shift began at a terminal card shop, Ana Biclar sat and waited for the driver to find an opening to turn onto Country Hills Boulevard from 36th Street N.E.
“I’m late already. If I take the 57, I’m usually there on time,” said the student, who attends Father Lacombe Senior High School, just a short walk from the old bus route.
While the mayor and others tout it as a more direct link to Calgary International Airport, the 100 line was introduced primarily because Barlow Trail access closes April 3.
Irishe Ramos wasn’t working Monday at the Delta Calgary Airport Hotel but wanted to test the commute time from her Rundleson Road N.E. home.
The verdict: snaking from the McKnight LRT station, up to Country Hills Boulevard and back down to the airport took about twice as long as her Route 57 link via Whitehorn station.
“The best way is to have your own car, rather than taking bus 100,” she concluded.
Michelle, a flight attendant, said the new route made getting to her Martindale home quicker.
“I hate the 57 because I hate to backtrack,” she said.
Kim Taekyun was the lone luggage-toting passenger on a bus that left the airport carrying two dozen people.
He figured it would take about the same time to get downtown as it used to before the new bus line debuted.
To drum up interest in the new service, Mayor Naheed Nenshi rode it Monday morning, reporters in tow.
“It was very, very easy. Very comfortable,” he said after returning downtown.
“It took us about 45 minutes to get there, which is certainly less time than it would normally take in an afternoon rush hour.”
In the arrivals part of the terminal near the Calgary Transit bus bay, there were few signs referring to the public bus, although a poster nearby did tout a $15 private shuttle service.
Transit spokesman Ron Collins said it’s the airport’s responsibility for signs within its terminal.
He added the city would advertise the service more if usage is light.
Nenshi, who admitted he had never taken Route 57, wants the city to launch a direct airport bus from the downtown that takes Deerfoot Trail, although he expects transit planners to propose other routes for the service he wants to start in time for the Stampede.
He also said it’s a “partial solution,” ahead of the day when LRT service goes to the terminal via the Airport Trail tunnel he’s hoping gets built by 2014.
Calgary Transit has no timetable for when the C-Train will serve the airport.
Route 430, the northwest crosstown line that serves the airport, is unaffected by the route changes.
© Copyright (c) The Calgary Herald
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