After years of work, a new transit system in the capital region has been given the green light.
 
The provincial government has officially approved the formation of a new Regional Transit Services Commission for the Edmonton Metropolitan Region.
 
Eight municipalities signed on to the new system, including Fort Saskatchewan, Beaumont, Devon, Edmonton, Leduc, Spruce Grove, St. Albert and Stony Plain.
 
“This first-of-its-kind commission will go a long way to connecting the people and economies of the Edmonton region with safer and more efficient public transit,” said Alberta’s interim minister of municipal affairs Ric McIver. “This is a great example of municipalities taking the lead to solve local transit issues."
 
The goal for the regional service is to connect the municipalities together to create a more efficient and cost-effective transit system that better serves their residents. Citizens will be able to access the other towns and cities easier and will see their tax dollars go farther through transit routes shared by the municipalities.
 
The regional transit board advised there may not be a large change in the beginning, but slowly as the system expands, residents should eventually be able to travel from one municipality to another without having to worry about different bus passes, fares or possibly changing buses.
 
"Fort Saskatchewan is seeking to improve transit services and ensure it is delivered in a more cost-effective way. For Fort Saskatchewan and our region to be more economically competitive and attractive for business, it is critical that we are part of an integrated transit network and economy," said Gordon Harris, Fort Saskatchewan city councillor and member of the regional transit board.
 
In the coming weeks, the board will have their first official meeting and begin planning.
 
Operation of the transit system is intended to begin by 2022.