How to Use Edmonton Public Transit: A Guide to ETS Bus Routes & ETS Light Rail

Posted by EdmontonRealEstate.ca Team on Monday, November 8th, 2021 at 10:05am.

Public Transportation in Edmonton

Fondly nicknamed the Gateway to the North, Edmonton is a metro area in Canada, full of fun things and a robust economy. To support the growing population, the Edmonton real estate market offers an array of desirable housing options.

As Alberta's second-largest city and the fifth largest in Canada, Edmonton is also a sprawling metropolis with top-tier infrastructure.

The streets are well numbered to make driving in Edmonton simple, and the city boasts a well-established public transportation system which makes it easy to get around without a car. Keep reading to learn how to use ETS and other public transportation services in Edmonton.

ETS Bus Service

The Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) is a fully integrated transit authority in Edmonton. ETS offers over 80 million rides annually and operates a bus service with over 20 lines. Buses run from transit centers found near popular commercial spots such as shopping centers and general public landmarks. All ETS bus stations are linked to either Downtown Edmonton or another station for convenience.

ETS buses leave the transit centers at designated times, making route planning seamless even for new residents. For instance, if a passenger needs to transfer to another route during an ongoing trip, they only need a transfer ticket from the driver. The first ETS buses start at 6 a.m., while the last buses depart from Edmonton to other locations at 1 a.m.

Passes are usable at an ETS transit exchange. Tickets are sold at any ETS bus transit centers through the fare vending machines, certified retailers, or even online from the official ETS website. Some major convenience stores such as 7-Eleven also sell ETS passes. Cash is the only other payment option accepted for those without a pass, and must payments must be made before boarding.

ETS Bus Service Ticket Costs

  • Youth Tickets (24 and below): Cash: $3.50 / 10-Day Pass: $19.75 / Monthly Pass: $73
  • Adults (25-64): Cash: $3.50 / 10-Day Pass: $27.75 / Monthly Pass: $100
  • Seniors (65 and above): Cash: $3.50 / 10-Day Pass: $19.75 / Monthly Pass: $35

ETS Light Rail

The ETS Light rail is a train service run by the Edmonton Transit Service authority. It has two main LRT lines; the Capital Line, which runs from Clareview, northeast Edmonton, through Downtown to Century Park, and other suburbs to the south of Edmonton. The Capital LRT line is easily accessible thanks to its six underground and nine-ground level train stations.

The second ETS LRT line is the Metro. It has three stations and runs from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) to health sciences and the Century Park Station, providing a seamless commute, especially for students.

Single-use and monthly passes are available at select convenience and grocery stores, but one must validate them at a ticket validation machine found in all LRT stations. Cash for tickets is only accepted at the stations.

All ETS LRT stations are also equipped with automatic door openers, elevators, escalators, and ramps for accessibility. They also feature a waiting area for passengers reliant on mobility aids such as wheelchairs.

ETS Light Rail Ticket Costs

  • Youth Tickets (24 and below): Cash: $3.50 / 10-Day Pass: $19.75 / Monthly Pass: $73
  • Adults (25-64): Cash: $3.50 / 10-Day Pass: $27.75 / Monthly Pass: $100
  • Seniors (65 and above): Cash: $3.50 / 10-Day Pass: $19.75 / Monthly Pass: $35

Edmonton's Unique Pedway System

Although driving in Edmonton is a simple endeavour, thanks to the city's state-of-the-art infrastructure, pedestrians aren't left out either. The Edmonton Pedway system makes walking beneath Downtown Edmonton condos feel more like an adventure, as it's an 8.1-mile indoor maze of climate-controlled underground tunnels and walkways between buildings.

These pathways connect up to 40 buildings in the area, hundreds of shops and restaurants, and even parkades.

The Edmonton pedway system also connects to three of five of the city's LRT stations: the Churchill, Central, and Bay/Enterprise Square stations. That means users with business in any building linked to or near the pedway system can go an entire winter without having to step into the snow or deal with Edmonton's hectic traffic jams during rush hour.

For instance, some walkways connect MacEwan University and the Nothern Alberta Institute of Technology in the pedway network.

The network also features short tunnels and walkways leading directly from the surface to LRT transit stations. The walkway connects pedestrians to Grandin Station from the Alberta Legislature buildings.

The first-ever Edmonton pedway connections began operating in 1974. Since then, more connections have been and are continuously added to make the enclosed walkway network even more efficient.

Bikeshare and E-Scooters

Besides an enclosed walkway maze, Edmonton also features over 200km of bike lanes throughout the city. These bike routes are well-maintained and open to the public all year long. Edmonton's bike routes are divided into Downtown, Southside, and West Central networks.

The Downtown network features 7.8km of protected and shared pathways and has bike racks at different intervals. The Southside network is a 4.4km bike-friendly stretch with most of its lanes along 83 Avenue, 76 Avenue, and 106 Street. West Central offers 4.2km of bike trails and shared roadways for exploration, with most of its routes on 127 Street.

The city also partnered with three companies to offer an e-scooter share service in Edmonton. This is yet another excellent way to get around within the town. To use the service, residents use an app to locate and unlock an e-scooter or a bike.

There's plenty of parking on sidewalks and parking lanes for both bikes and e-scooters throughout the city. Users are also urged to leave at 0.5m space when parking on a curb and ensure at least 1.8m clearance from the sidewalk. Bikes and e-scooters are ridden on the shared pathways and streets, roads with a 50km speed limit, and bike lanes.

Taxis, Rideshare, and Shuttles

For residents who prefer a more private means of transportation in Edmonton, there are several taxi and rideshare options in town.

These can be hailed from any street within Edmonton. However, for reduced wait times and an overall smooth-sailing experience, it's advisable that one book a ride with the many taxi service companies in the city. Rides typically start at $3 and add upper kilometre. A passage from the airport to Downtown Edmonton costs about $60.

Edmonton has plenty of ridesharing options too. It was the first Canadian to warm up to ridesharing options like Uber. Other ridesharing options to checkout include Lyft, Blacklane, TappCar, and the Greater Edmonton Yellow Cab.

Rates typically vary depending on the rideshare services in question and the type of package chosen. For instance, an Uber X ride for four people costs about $40, while a TappCar Premium luxury ride for four people means parting with around $45.

The Edmonton Sky Shuttle Service company mainly offers shuttle services. The company specifically provides airport pickups and has up to seventy steps across the city. Shuttles stop at hotels and motels on a pre-booked basis, and all rides have to be pre-booked as well. Skyshuttles depart from the airport every sixty minutes for all Edmonton locations.

Getting Around Town Is Easy with Edmonton Public Transit

As Alberta's capital city and one of the nation's largest cities, there are many things to be excited about when moving to Edmonton. Edmonton is also a sprawling city, and newcomers can always benefit from learning about the local transit options.

Edmonton has excellent infrastructure put in place for both car and foot traffic. For instance, the city's unique pedway system is a network of indoor tunnels and walkways offering a rain-free movement experience for pedestrians. At the same time, the countless ridesharing options allow residents to cut costs while getting around conveniently.

Just as with transportation options, Edmonton also features plenty of housing options for sale so that residents can lead an all-around comfortable lifestyle.

If you're looking for the perfect Edmonton home, contact Terry Paranych Real Estate Group with Edmonton Real Estate at (780) 800-9644 to get in touch with a local Edmonton real estate agent and discover your new dream home today.

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