The Pulse: April 8, 2021

Here's what you need to know about Edmonton today.

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  • 6°C: Clearing near noon. Wind northwest 30 km/h gusting to 50. High 6. (forecast)
  • 4-2: The Oilers (24-14-2) defeated the Senators (13-23-4). Draisaitl had a hat trick. (details)

Fare increase, lower fare evasion fine among potential changes to Edmonton transit

Fare increase, lower fare evasion fine among potential changes to Edmonton transit

By Jackson Spring Jackson Spring

City council's executive committee will vote on whether to increase single trip cash fares for buses and LRT rides on April 12.

If approved, adult fares will increase in May to $3.75 from $3.50. If the proposed fare is rejected, a report from city administration said it will lose $870,000 of projected revenue in the 2022 budget.

Cash fares increased to $3.50 from $3.25 on Feb. 1, 2020, and are scheduled to increase again to $4 in 2022, unless council decides otherwise.

The proposed increase is one of many potential changes to the Edmonton Transit Service this year, along with adjustments that have already been implemented.

  • In addition to the single trip fare increase, the city is considering a discounted rate of $3 for users of the cashless smart fare system once it is in place, reports the Edmonton Journal.

  • Council is also considering reducing the fine for fare evasion to $150 from $250. This will put Edmonton in line with Ottawa, Calgary, and Montreal, which also charge $150 for that offence. Coun. Aaron Paquette told Global News the fine is unaffordable for nearly half of people who receive tickets, explaining that "$250 might as well be $2 million, and since they have no way of paying, they just accrue more and more fines on their record."

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By Emily Rendell-Watson Emily Rendell-Watson and Mack Male Mack Male

Gather 'round: It's time for Bonfire

Gather 'round: It's time for Bonfire

By Fawnda Mithrush Fawnda Mithrush in the Arts Roundup

While many performing artists have been sidelined by venue closures due to the pandemic, Rapid Fire Theatre's ensemble of improvisers has been consistently active online. They've offered classes and weekly shows since events started getting cancelled, including last year's Bonfire Festival.

"As a company that is all about constant innovation, this is a special time of year where we try on some of our most ambitious ideas and take them to the stage," says Matt Schuurman, Rapid Fire's artistic director.

Bonfire, which runs live online on Fridays and Saturdays from April 9-24, is the company's annual testing ground for experimental improv. The festival has churned out countless oddball and out-there improv formats since it began back in 2012, when it was a resident at the Varscona Theatre. Troupes like Folk Lordz, and returning hits like Magic Marv, Red Shirt Diaries, and Improbotics all got their starts at Bonfires past.

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A moment in history: April 8, 1957

A moment in history: April 8, 1957

By Scott Lilwall Scott Lilwall

On this day in 1957, concert lovers were getting the first reviews of the acoustics at the brand new Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. More than 1,500 music students and audience members had gathered that week for the final music test at the new performing centre, including a 100-piece orchestra and 180 singers.

The Northern Alberta Jubilee and its southern counterpart in Calgary broke ground in 1955 to mark the province’s 50th anniversary. Then premier Ernest Manning said the growing cities were in dire need of cultural facilities and the new venues would help Albertans develop an "expressive cultural life."

Since its opening, the Jubilee has seen countless productions, hosting everything from Broadway shows to rock concerts to standup comedy. It’s also been the site of two royal visits — Queen Elizabeth II came for the opening ceremonies of the 1978 Commonwealth games, while Prince Charles and Princess Diana visited in 1983.

While both the Edmonton and Calgary auditoriums were built using the most advanced techniques of the '50s, both venues were beginning to show their acoustic age by the turn of the century. In 2005, the Northern Alberta Jubilee underwent a $91-million renovation aimed at improving the sound quality

While the theatre was listed as the busiest theatre in Canada back in 2010, the coronavirus has obviously affected the Jubilee’s performance schedule. However, the venue has managed to adapt to the pandemic with ideas such as Edmonton Opera's Drive-In Opera series, which has musicians and vocalists performing inside inflatable plastic bubbles on the building’s roof while the audience tunes in on FM radio.

This was based on a clipping found on Vintage Edmonton, a daily look at Edmonton's history from armchair archivist @revRecluse — follow @VintageEdmonton for daily ephemera via Twitter.

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Weekend agenda

By Emily Rendell-Watson Emily Rendell-Watson and Fawnda Mithrush Fawnda Mithrush

Quiz time: Traffic

Quiz time: Traffic


Test your knowledge with this daily quiz, brought to you by the People's Agenda project:

How much did city council vote to cut from traffic safety programs over two years as a result of lower photo radar revenues?

  1. $600,000
  2. $1.6 million
  3. $2.6 million
  4. $3.6 million
  5. $20 million

See Friday's issue of The Pulse for the answer.

The answer to the April 7 quiz was d — the Community Safety and Well-Being Task Force recommended diverting $260 million in projected increases from the police budget to community supports and social services instead.

The next People's Agenda listening session will be on the topic of police funding. Join us online at noon on April 8.

Photo by Mack Male

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