County Connector Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Rural Transportation Pilot Program?
How much funding has the Government of Alberta contributed to the program?
Who are the partner municipalities of the Rural Transportation Pilot Project?
Why are the County and project partners undertaking a transit system?
Why is the program only two years in length?
Will the service continue beyond two years?
Who will be in charge of operating the transit service?
What other funding has gone into the program?
Who is responsible for maintaining the bus routes including the roads and sidewalks and bus stop areas?
Who can I contact if the sidewalks and areas along the bus have not been maintained?
Where are the stops for public transit?
What factors were taken into consideration when choosing the stops on each route?
Why does Phase Two of the County Connector only operate three days per week? Why does the transit service only travel to Hythe on Wednesday?
If there are stops that aren’t included along the routes, or not available in certain areas or communities, is there a possibility that stops will be added or changed in the future?
I’ve heard that one of the bus stops in Beaverlodge is being removed from the schedule. Is this true?
Why has the number of bus stops in Beaverlodge been reduced?
Will the closure of Stop 9304 in Beaverlodge impact the County Connector bus schedule?

Will there be on-demand service for those areas and/or communities that don’t have routes?
When will the transit system be operational?
Why isn’t the service being launched at once?
How much does it cost to ride the bus?
Why is there only one fare?
Will you be offering monthly, student, senior, Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), or other fare options in the future?
What are the ways I can pay to ride the bus?
Why does my SUPERPASS say STUDENT/SENIOR/ADULT even though the fare is the same?
Where can I purchase a transit SUPERPASS? 
Will I be able to purchase additional passes and load them onto my SUPERPASS card online?
Is there a cost for the SUPERPASS card?
What are the benefits of registering my SUPERPASS?
Will I be able to reload my SUPERPASS at the purchase locations?
If I purchase a pass to ride the regional transit, can this also be used to ride transit within the City of Grande Prairie?  
What is the transit system’s hours of operation?
Why is the transit system only operating on weekdays and not on evenings, weekends or holidays? 
Is there a possibility that service hours will be expanded to include evenings, weekends and holidays?
How long does the bus wait at each stop for passengers to get on the bus?
In the event that a route cannot be travelled by the bus due to inclement/severe weather, emergencies, unforeseen circumstances are there contingency route plans?
Where can I find maps, routes, bus stop locations and schedules?
If I am planning to use transit, will I be able to track where the bus is?
Where will I be able to report unsafe behaviours, suspicious activity or packages at transit stops and/or on the bus?
How many passengers will the bus have the capacity to carry?
Will buses be accessible (low floor) and useable to those in wheelchairs or with walkers?
Will patrons be able to fit their bike racks on the buses?
Can those with bikes bring their bike onto the bus if the bike rack is full?
Will there be features on the buses for people with decreased hearing, sight, and or speech abilities?
If I have any feedback about the project, including the development of the routes and schedules, who can I contact?
If I have any questions, concerns or feedback about the service whom can I contact?
Who do I contact regarding the lost and found?

 

What is the Rural Transportation Pilot Program?

The Rural Transportation Pilot Program is a two-year program, funded in part by the Government of Alberta’s Ministry of Transportation. The County Connector links the County of Grande Prairie, the towns of Sexsmith, Beaverlodge, Wembley, and the Village of Hythe to the City of Grande Prairie.

How much funding has the Government of Alberta contributed to the program?

Alberta Transportation awarded the County of Grande Prairie and its partners approximately $640,000 to operate the pilot program for two years.

Who are the partner municipalities of the Rural Transportation Pilot Project?

The County of Grande Prairie, the City of Grande Prairie, towns of Beaverlodge, Sexsmith and Wembley, and the Village of Hythe are partners in the project.

Why are the County and project partners undertaking a transit system?

Studies have identified the need for public transportation options that connect our rural communities to the City of Grande Prairie. Resident feedback identified the lack of affordable transportation options to access essential services, employment and education, and social and recreational opportunities and services. The grant reflects the Province’s recognition of the unique challenges rural residents face in accessing these types of important services.

Why is the program only two years in length?

Alberta Transportation has provided a grant to help cover operational costs for public transit over a two-year period. This is a pilot project to determine the level of use and service needed in these communities and the program’s viability.

Will the service continue beyond two years?

Over the two-year pilot program, the County and its partners will monitor and evaluate the program to determine how to best meet the needs of the communities and to assess the long-term viability of continuing the service.

Who will be in charge of operating the transit service?

The City of Grande Prairie has been contracted to provide a turnkey service, which includes providing buses, operators, maintenance, fuel, SUPERPASS cards, the Where’s My Ride? Bus Tracker and the Citizen Contact Centre.

What other funding has gone into the program?

Province of Alberta provided a GreenTrip grant of $276,666. The County of Grande Prairie has funded $138,333 for the purchase of one of the transit buses being used for the program.

Partner municipalities will be responsible for maintaining the transit route and transit stop areas, clearing snow and ice, and providing adequate signage. Additional amenities such as bus benches and garbage receptacles have been provided where possible.

Who is responsible for maintaining the bus routes including the roads and sidewalks and bus stop areas?

Each municipality is responsible for maintaining roads and sidewalks along the bus route in their community.

Who can I contact if the sidewalks and areas along the bus have not been maintained?

Please contact the municipal office in which the sidewalks and areas along the bus stops that are of concern. 

Where are the stops for public transit?

The transit service is accessible at stops located within the Hamlet of Clairmont, the towns of Sexsmith, Wembley, and Beaverlodge, and the Village of Hythe and will connect to stops in the City of Grande Prairie. The route maps and schedules are available in the County Connector Rider's Guide at www.countygp.ab.ca/connector

What factors were taken into consideration when choosing the stops on each route?

The bus routes and stops for the County Connector service were carefully selected to best fall in line with the intention behind the province’s Rural Transportation Program, which is to provide a transit service that benefits residents while considering the limited resources available for this pilot project.

The partners will continue to monitor and evaluate the pilot project and adjustments may be made to routes and stops dependent on funding, community demand, and feasibility. If you would like to provide feedback regarding routes and stops for the County Connector please send it to the County of Grande Prairie’s FCSS department by email at fcss@countygp.ab.ca or call 780-532-9727.

Why does Phase Two of the County Connector only operate three days per week? Why does the transit service only travel to Hythe on Wednesday?

The service schedule and routes for Phase Two of the County Connector service were selected the same way that Phase One was developed, which is to fall in line with the intention behind the province’s Rural Transportation Program, which is to provide a transit service that benefits residents while considering the limited resources available for this pilot project.

The partners will continue to monitor and evaluate the pilot project and adjustments may be made to routes and stops dependent on funding, community demand, and feasibility. Feedback about the routes and stops for the County Connector can be sent to the County of Grande Prairie’s FCSS department by email at fcss@countygp.ab.ca or call 780-532-9727.

If there are stops that aren’t included along the routes, or not available in certain areas or communities, is there a possibility that stops will be added or changed in the future?

The partners will continue to monitor and evaluate the pilot project and adjustments may be made to routes and stops depending on funding, community demand and feasibility.

Feedback about the County Connector service can be sent to the County FCSS department at fcss@countygp.ab.ca.

I’ve heard that one of the bus stops in Beaverlodge is being removed from the schedule. Is this true?

Yes. Effective Monday, April 29, stop 9304 at 4th Avenue and 9th Street in Beaverlodge will no longer be in service.

Why has the number of bus stops in Beaverlodge been reduced?

Based on community feedback and ridership data it was determined that two County Connector stops in the Town of Beaverlodge, stops 9302 and 9306, can serve the needs of the community while meeting the goals of the project.

Will the closure of Stop 9304 in Beaverlodge impact the County Connector bus schedule?

No, the closure of stop 9304 in Beaverlodge will not impact the route schedule or other stop times.

Will there be on-demand service for those areas and/or communities that don’t have routes?

No, there will be no on-demand service in the areas that do not have routes.

Is door-to-door service available? Will it be available in the future?

The County Connector does not provide door-to-door service and will not be in the future, as that is not the purpose of a public transit service.

When will the transit system be operational?

The service will be launched in two separate phases.

Phase One launched in December, 2018 connecting the Town of Sexsmith and the Hamlet of Clairmont to the City of Grande Prairie.

Phase Two rolled out to the towns of Beaverlodge and Wembley, and the Village of Hythe starting in February, 2019.

Why isn’t the service being launched at once?

Phase Two requires the purchase of a bus, which was not available until early 2019.

A phased roll-out of this service provides the opportunity to evaluate Phase One operations and procedures and make any necessary changes to optimize efficiencies and quality of the service in Phase Two.

How much does it cost to ride the bus?

The cost to ride the bus will be $5 one way. Children aged 11 and under will ride for free and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

Why is there only one fare?

This decision was based on community feedback as well as research gathered on comparable public transit services in rural areas, which indicated that a $5 fare each way is reasonable.

Will you be offering monthly, student, senior, Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH), or other fare options in the future?

The partners will continue to evaluate the entire program to determine the need in the communities and feasibility of expanding the fare options.   

What are the ways I can pay to ride the bus?

Bus fare can be paid with exact change in coins (no bills) or with a SUPERPASS reloadable smart card.

The SUPERPASS for the County Connector is a reloadable smart card that is available for purchase at various locations in the participating communities as listed below. They are easy and convenient to use – simply tap your valid SUPERPASS card as you get on the bus to pay your fare.

Why does my SUPERPASS say STUDENT/SENIOR/ADULT even though the fare is the same?

Throughout the two-year pilot project, we will be keeping track of the number of students, seniors and adults who are riding the County Connector through information gathered when riders tap their SUPERPASS card.

Where can I purchase a transit SUPERPASS? 

Pre-loaded SUPERPASS cards, in the amounts of $20 for four trips and $40 for eight trips on the County Connector, can be purchased during business hours at the following locations:

  • City Hall, City of Grande Prairie
  • Clairmont Fas Gas, Clairmont 
  • New Horizon Co-op, City of Grande Prairie
  • Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum, Wembley 
  • Sexsmith Town Office
  • Shoppers Drug Mart - Prairie Mall, City of Grande Prairie
  • Town of Beaverlodge Office 
  • Town of Wembley Office
  • Village of Hythe Office 

SUPERPASSES can be reloaded online at superpass.cityofgp.com or at the following City of Grande Prairie facilities:

  • City Hall
  • City Service Centre
  • Eastlink Centre
  • Community Social Development
  • Ernie Radbourne Pavilion at Muskoseepi Park

Will I be able to purchase additional passes and load them onto my SUPERPASS card online?

Transit users can reload their SUPERPASS cards at the City of Grande Prairie facilities listed above, as well as online at https://superpass.cityofgp.com. You are encouraged to register your SUPERPASS online.

If you are planning to reload your SUPERPASS card online, please do so 24-48 hours in advance of your trip to allow the system time to update your balance.

Is there a cost for the SUPERPASS card?

There is no charge to County Connector users for the SUPERPASS cards. Users will only pay for the fare that is loaded onto the card. However, registering and reloading your SUPERPASS card is encouraged.

What are the benefits of registering my SUPERPASS?

In case of loss, the remaining balance on the card can be transferred to a new card at a City Facility (listed above). You can easily purchase more rides online with a credit card and track your balance.

Will I be able to reload my SUPERPASS at the purchase locations?

The City of Grande Prairie facilities listed above are the only locations with the technology in place to reload the SUPERPASS cards with additional funds; however, they can be reloaded at any of the City locations listed above or online at https://superpass.cityofgp.com.

If I purchase a pass to ride the regional transit, can this also be used to ride transit within the City of Grande Prairie?  

No, the County Connector is a separate system from Grande Prairie Transit. If you want to ride the transit within the City of Grande Prairie, you will need to pay a separate fare to Grande Prairie Transit. As the two systems are separate, they have separate funding sources and fare systems.

What is the transit system’s hours of operation?

Phase One runs Monday to Friday with operations beginning at 6:40 a.m. in the City of Grande Prairie and ending at 7:25 p.m. in the City of Grande Prairie.

Phase Two operates on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Monday and Friday, the service begins in Beaverlodge at 9:18 a.m., then travels to Wembley and arrives in the City of Grande Prairie by 10:08 a.m. The return service will depart from Grande Prairie at 3:00 p.m., stopping in Wembley and ending in Beaverlodge at 3:52 p.m. On Wednesday, the service begins in Hythe at 9:00 a.m. and ends in Hythe with the last stop at 4:10 p.m. The rest of the schedule remains unchanged.

The County Connector does not operate on statutory holidays.

For a detailed schedule, download the County Connector Rider's Guide at www.countygp.ab.ca/connector.

Why is the transit system only operating on weekdays and not on evenings, weekends or holidays? 

This is a pilot project with limited funding that currently only allows the system to be operational during weekdays. The County Connector service will not operate on the following statutory holidays: 

  • Family Day
  • Good Friday
  • Victoria Day
  • Canada Day
  • Civic Day
  • Labour Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Remembrance Day
  • Boxing Day
  • Christmas Day
  • New Year’s Day
  • Easter Sunday

Is there a possibility that service hours will be expanded to include evenings, weekends and holidays?

Expanding the service to include evenings, weekends and holidays will incur additional costs beyond the funding available, so there is no plan to expand the hours of operation at this time. However, we will be monitoring and evaluating the program and may make changes based on community needs and the financial feasibility. 

How long does the bus wait at each stop for passengers to get on the bus?

We recommend that transit users arrive at the bus stop five minutes before the scheduled departure time, as the bus leaves will leave the stop at the scheduled time. 

In the event that a route cannot be travelled by the bus due to inclement/severe weather, emergencies, unforeseen circumstances are there contingency route plans?

All participating municipalities will be maintaining their bus routes as a priority, so at this time, no contingency routes are required.

If there are major disruptions to the service due to inclement/severe weather, emergencies or unforeseen circumstances, public notices will go out as well as be posted on the Where’s My Ride? Bus Tracker available to all transit users.

Where can I find maps, routes, bus stop locations and schedules?

Maps, routes, bus stop locations and schedules are available in the County Connector Rider's Guide at www.countygp.ab.ca/connector.

If I am planning to use transit, will I be able to track where the bus is?

Riders can call the Citizen Contact Centre at 780-538-0300 from Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays) between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. for up-to-date information about the County Connector. 

The Where’s My Ride? Bus Tracker is available to County Connector riders for Phase Two routes (92, 93 & 94), and can be accessed at www.cityofgp.com/transit where there is step-by-step instructions on how to track your bus. If you encounter any issues, call the Citizen Contact Centre for assistance. Please note, the Where’s My Ride? Bus Tracker is not currently available for Phase One routes (90 & 91). 

Where will I be able to report unsafe behaviours, suspicious activity or packages at transit stops and/or on the bus?           

Unsafe behaviours, suspicious activity or packages should be reported to the Transit operator while on the bus. If you are not on the bus please contact the City Contact Centre. For emergencies, call 9-1-1.

How many passengers will the bus have the capacity to carry?

The buses being used for this program will hold 24 passengers in total.

Will buses be accessible (low floor) and useable to those in wheelchairs or with walkers?

The buses are accessible and useable for those in wheelchairs and those using walkers. Each bus has sections designated for two wheelchairs or walkers to be strapped in. 

Will patrons be able to fit their bike racks on the buses?

All buses have exterior bike racks, with space for two bikes.

Can those with bikes bring their bike onto the bus if the bike rack is full?

Due to space limitations on the bus and safety concerns, users will not be able to bring their bike onto the bus.

Will there be features on the buses for people with decreased hearing, sight, and or speech abilities?

The buses have visual signs and make audible stop announcements at each stop.

CONTACT INFORMATION

If I have feedback about the project, including the development of the routes and schedules, who can I contact?

Please contact County of Grande Prairie FCSS at 780-532-9727 or fcss@countygp.ab.ca.

If I have any questions, concerns or feedback about the service whom can I contact?

Residents, transit users and the public can provide feedback and suggestions regarding the service by contacting the City of Grande Prairie’s Contact Centre at 780-538-0300 from Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays) between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.; by email at gptransit@cityofgp.com; or by mail at P.O Bag 4000, 10205-98 Street, Grande Prairie, AB T8V 6V3.

Who do I contact regarding the lost and found?

For the lost and found, contact the City of Grande Prairie’s Contact Centre at 780-538-0300 from Monday to Friday (excluding statutory holidays) between 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. and by email at gptransit@cityofgp.com.