Transit to the MAX: Calgary’s new bus rapid transit system raises the standard for transit

Traversing the great city streets of Calgary changed overnight with the introduction of the new MAX rapid bus lines on Nov. 19.

The new lines consist of the MAX Orange, MAX Teal, and MAX Purple, all of which, according to Calgary Transit, will enhance access and facilitate movement across the city. 

MAX Orange begins at Brentwood terminal in the northwest, loops towards Alberta Children’s Hospital and Foothills Medical Centre, extends east across the city via 16th Ave. N (including a stop at SAIT), and then moves north to the Saddletowne terminal in the northeast.

Further south, MAX Teal begins at Westbrook terminal in the southwest and extends southeast to Douglas Glen, while MAX Purple begins at City Hall terminal in downtown and ends to the east in East Hills. 

Jordan Sawatzky, a second-year business administration student at SAIT, said he had a very positive experience with the new bus lines. 

“It offers more express routes in Calgary, and allows for easier access to other parts of the city,” he said. 

Calgary Transit introduced three new MAX routes, Orange, Purple, and Teal, with a fourth one planned for 2019. The MAX service aims to connect Calgary’s major destinations together by reducing train and bus transfers. (Photo by Jp Pitogo/SAIT)

Rider experience has become more comfortable because of the larger platforms and heated shelters, he said.

The new shelters provide necessary protection and comfort from the weather, said Landon Gilbert, who is currently upgrading math courses at SAIT on Monday and Wednesday evenings. 

“Since it’s winter here most of the time anyways, the heated bus shelters are a luxury that we should have had long ago,” Gilbert said. 

The MAX lines are one way that the city is trying to stay in front of the demands of its growth, he said.

“As the city expands, we need to get more bus routes that connect more areas of the city.”  

Although taking the new MAX buses is much faster, the change to the existing bus routes has made it somewhat inconvenient for those who have taken said buses for an extended period, he said.


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