The Government of Alberta recently invested in two local transit projects.
On Thursday (Mar.7), the province announced a total of 17 municipal transit systems — including Fort Saskatchewan's — will share $215 million from the Alberta Community Transit Fund.
All told, Fort Sask Transit (FST) will receive $163,750 for a new bus and $93,600 to implement Smart Fare and Smart Bus technology.
Anthony Dionigi, transit supervisor with the city, said the addition of a fourth bus has a couple of key benefits.
"It's going to help us with our spare ratio for our local fleet, so we'll have more buses to choose from in terms of when we send buses on the road," he explained. "But it will also reduce the wear and tear on the existing three buses, so it'll actually stretch out the life of the buses that we have."
As for the technology, Dionigi said it will make accessing and paying for transit more user-friendly throughout the Edmonton region.
"The point is to make it more convenient — you would basically use a tap card to get onto any bus that is part of the program," he added.
Once operational, the technology will also provide transit agencies with better data in terms of ridership, according to Dionigi.
"If we know how many students, adults and seniors are using the transit system, it helps us to plan better for growth and for the future," he noted.
The provincial funding covers 40-50 per cent of the total cost of each project. FST has also applied for grants from the federal government to assist with the associated costs.