Being asked generally what I’d do to fix transit in Regina, I could answer more broadly than if I’m confined to a hypothetical budget increase of just ~1/30th of Transit’s existing budget.
Answering Metro during a recent interview, first I’d fix Paratransit, which inhumanely declines thousands of ride requests every month. That’s people missing medical and work appointments because the City and Province don’t place as high a priority on disabled people as they do for the rest of the province’s workforce and citizenry. That fix will take more than a million dollars, and provincial assistance likely too. The province is already kicking in transit and paratranist money, but it’s not sufficient. The City is attempting to dodge a human rights lawsuit by bringing in a lot of low floor buses early next year, without actually increasing the bus fleet in Regina.
Prairie Dog put together a budget on $1Mil.
Here’s my budget, given each bus costs about $500,000 to purchase (and operate for perhaps a couple years on that same money).
- Buy 1 short bus for the new Airport route to downtown. This will come in under $400,000 (possibly much less).
- Do Paul D.’s transit report to identify routes that are short of buses and have unrealistic schedules. Transit Live already provides late bus stats, there’s no extra programming involved. Someone builds a spreadsheet, or they dump the data to the public and some hacker will figure it out for next to no cost. Cost $5,000 in extra staff time.
- Let 12 and younger kids ride free all of the time. Cost offset by new adults riding with kids, and increased youth and adult fares as kids age into the paid levels.
- Install new bus stops on Wascana Parkway beside Grant Road and Kramer Blvd. recessed so they don’t interfere with the bike lane. Regina Transit is revisiting this idea after I contacted Service Regina today with the idea. There are no stops between Riddell Centre and SIAST, which is ridiculous. $50,000
- WiFi on buses and at major stops. I estimate $1000/stop and bus. Get a corporate sponsor like SaskTel so there is no monthly charge for service. Then our buses aren’t only mobile spy platforms for our government, they are also mobile WiFi hotspots for our people. I’m not sure how many buses, but let’s connect 50 of them, and 10 major stops. $90,000 after support costs.
- Operate the Victoria Ave. and Albert St. Express buses every hour of daily service (until just before 1am), and every day of the week, extending Sundays and Holidays to Saturday’s hours served. $340,000
- Allow day passes to be printed on the bus with the new transfer printers. Cost: $200 to program this.
- Improve the downtown transfer location with an indoor facility in which to wait, open at all hours of bus service. Use the remaining funds to increase staffing at the site. $114,800
- FREE bonus idea: Take a $100,000 officer in the RPS, and assign them to Transit policing specifically. Cost to Transit budget: $0.
There you have a laundry list of easy and relatively inexpensive ways to make Transit much more effective in Regina. I’ll bring these up at Design Regina’s Transportation Master Plan stakeholder session next week.