When you first arrive in Edmonton, you may not have a car of your own and will be relying on the city’s public transportation options. Although many people who live in Edmonton, especially those who live in the suburbs, think it unwise to live here without a vehicle, Edmonton public transportation is considered accessible, easy to use, and a good alternative to owning a car. Managed by Edmonton Transit System (ETS), Edmonton public transportation consists of buses and light rapid transit. It is low-cost and eco-efficient.
The ETS operates within the city limits, and also reaches Fort Saskatchewan, Spruce Grove and the Edmonton Garrison at Namao. From ETS routes, passengers can connect to suburban transit services, operated by the cities of St. Albert and Strathcona. There is also service to the Edmonton International Airport and park-and-ride stations. Here is some information to help you understand your options.
Edmonton’s bus fleet includes than 1,000 buses and 40 community buses. There are 180 routes in total. They are quite convenient if you live near a bus stop (when you are choosing your living situation, proximity to a bus stop is something important to consider!) There tends to be one at all main intersections and along popular streets in central Edmonton. Bus numbers one to 29 are base routes, while buses from 30 to 99 are south Edmonton routes and buses from 100 to 199 run north of the Saskatchewan River. There are a few exceptions to this pattern. Normal bus routes begin operating at around 5am until 11pm or midnight, but the night service operates on routes one, four, eight and nine until 3.30am.
Light Rail Transit (LRT):
Another useful part of ETS is the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system. Edmonton has 20.5 kilometres of light rail route, called the Capital Line. It stops at 15 stations (six are underground) and runs north-south through the city between northeast Edmonton and the Century Park community. Edmonton’s other light rail line, the Metro Line, is a 3.3 kilometre extension that serves the central and north-central areas of the city. There are park and ride services available at the Clareview, Belvedere, Stadium and Century Park LRT stations.
The LRT runs from 5am to 1am daily; trains run every five minutes during rush hour, every ten minutes around midday and Saturdays, and every fifteen minutes on Sundays and in the evening. While it is a relatively small system now, Edmonton has plans to expand it to include more lines to the southeast and west. Approved future projects include extensions of the Capital and Metro Lines, as well as a Valley Line from Mill Woods to Lewis Farm.
Park and Ride:
To help commuters and travellers who live outside of the public transportation area, Edmonton Transit offers a Park and Ride service. There are eight park and ride lots located around the city, including both paid and free park and ride options. If you choose to use the paid service, you receive monthly reserved parking, so you don’t need to rush to get there early. You also receive Parker Pete services that will help you if you get locked out of your vehicle, or if you have a dead battery or flat tire. Paid park and ride services cost $50 per month at select locations.
The Edmonton Pedway:
As with other large Canadian cities, Edmonton has a network of underground walkways and tunnels that connects offices, shopping malls and parking garages across the city. The Edmonton Pedway also connects to Churchill, Central and Bay/Enterprise LRT stations, to help you avoid some of the harsh conditions outside during the winter!
Edmonton also boasts 13km of second-floor walkways, that are climate-controlled throughout the year, and link many of the major landmarks in the downtown part of the city.
Fares and Passes:
Edmonton Transit offers a variety of fares and passes that are valid across all modes of transport in their network, including conventional buses and the LRT. A regular adult ride cost $3.25 per person (effective February 1, 2018). Children age five years and younger ride free! A 10-ticket pack costs $26.25 for adults and $23 for youth (ages 6-17) and seniors (aged 65+). Day passes cost $9.75. Tickets are valid up to 90 minutes after the time of purchase.
A monthly pass costs adults $97, post-secondary students who hold a valid student ID $88.50, youth $75, and seniors $15.50. There are also annual passes for seniors, which cost $136.50 or $59.25 for low income seniors. If you pay in cash for ETS passes, exact change is required. Fares can be purchased at LRT stations, the online store, at an ETS Customer Service Office,