New steps for better Calgary Transit

Post Date: Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Today, Mayor Naheed Nenshi and Calgary Transit Director Fred Wong met with reporters to announce steps that will make for a better Calgary Transit:
  • Calgary Transit and the Mayor have created the Calgary Transit Customer Advisory Group to give customers a greater collaborative voice in the future of Calgary Transit (particularly in the area of customer service). Calgary Transit senior management will also regularly engage directly with customers on transit routes to better understand customer service concerns.
  • Calgary Transit is actively working to reduce (where possible) the number of service disruptions and their impact on customers. 
  • Calgary Transit is planning to release service and reliability measurements for greater accountability and to encourage continual improvement.
System Reliability and Service Delays

It was a tough summer for Calgary Transit customers. There was a higher than average number of service disruptions on the system due to scheduled maintenance, unexpected delays as a result of aging infrastructure failing, and other incidents such as collisions. This created tremendous inconvenience for customers of Calgary Transit.

Ensuring as high a level of reliability as possible is a major element of making Calgary Transit a preferred choice. As such, Mayor Nenshi along with Mr. Wong highlighted what Transit is doing about these issues in the short and long term.

  1. Planned disruptions - Calgary Transit is working hard to upgrade our aging LRT infrastructure and improve reliability for our customers. By the end of October, Calgary Transit will have closed various sections of track on 26 of 44 weekends for planned maintenance and system upgrades. These planned closures are necessary for maintenance and the expansion of existing stations to accommodate 4-car CTrains. 
  2. Disruptions due to external influences - Of the 56 incidents so far this year, 31 were incidents such as vehicle and pedestrian accidents, medical emergencies, and police incidents. Many of these incidents require a police investigation and result in suspended transit service in specific locations. Calgary Transit is working with the Calgary Police to ensure accidents involving the CTrain are managed effectively, safely, and quickly.   
  3. Unplanned disruptions due to technical issues or vehicle failures - Calgary Transit has an aggressive program of planned maintenance ahead of us that will reduce disruptions by unexpected failures. There have been some recent issues with overhead CTrain power lines and we are working with Enmax and Calgary Transit staff to improve our regular maintenance to minimize the number of technical failures. Our U2 CTrain cars are 30 years old and we are looking forward to bringing new, modern cars into service which will vastly improve vehicle reliability. Calgary Transit has also ramped up our maintenance inspections of our CTrain fleet. 

Customer Service

Fred Wong and his managers are also taking on the goal of improving customer service head on--another critical element of making transit the preferred choice. Mr. Wong and his senior management team will be out "riding the rails" more frequently engaging directly with customers and experiencing the system first-hand.

Recent and current improvements such as new ticket machines that give change, new credit and debit payment options, upcoming real time arrival information at stations, and other initiatives are making transit more convenient.

Additionally, the Mayor along with Calgary Transit announced the creation of a Calgary Transit Customer Advisory Group. This new Advisory Group fulfils an election promise by Mayor Nenshi to make sure that customers voices are heard, which will help reinforce a culture of customer service at Calgary Transit.

The membership of the Advisory Group will represent a broad cross-section of Calgary Transit customers including those from all four quadrants of the city, members from different ages and physical abilities, and citizens from a variety of academic, business, and professional backgrounds.

The Mayor, who uses Calgary Transit, will also be a member!

The Advisory Group will provide focused feedback and will engage Calgary Transit on issues directly related to customer experience on the system such as: communication to customers about service, the cleanliness and safety of the system, fare payment methods, trip planning,, customer service protocols, and new initiatives.

If you are interested in learning more or finding out how to apply for membership in the Calgary Transit Customer Advisory Group, please visit


Calgary Transit will soon begin publishing data related to reliability and performance of the system including things like the on-time performance of buses and trains throughout the system. Additional data through new GPS systems on trains and buses will provide much more reliable data in which to measure performance and reliability on an ongoing basis. This will elevate Calgary Transit's accountability to its customers and help encourage continual improvement in terms of reliability.

- Josh White from Mayor Nenshi's team