A Notable Walk to the #YQR Regina Airport

Regina is lucky to have an International Airport located within its city limits. Cab rides to downtown from stepping off the plane cost no more than about $15C, compared to the $50 seen in major centres around the continent. What we are unlucky to have, is a complacent City Hall with no plan to provide active transportation options to the airport in the immediate future. The Airport, to its credit, has built a walkway to the edge of its property, but the City refuses to even budget to close the sidewalk gap. There is still no $3.25 Regina Transit bus to the airport or businesses west of Lewvan Dr. There’s no Uber or Lyft in sight.

How bad is it right now to take the bus then walk? It was +2 to +6C on Friday. Take a look, as I step off the #9 bus* (not the closest stop, but the most convenient for me to step onto on this particular day) at Elphinstone St. and Regina Ave. I was pulling two small rolling suitcases and a backpack, for additional hilarity and amusement.

*Do not try this at home, I’m a professional puddle jumper. 😉

There was one person walking the other direction, while I was leaving the bridge and entering the pathway.

Transit Stops Removed Doesn’t Equal Lost Service?

I had some harsh words for Regina Transit’s latest service change to make it into the news, the other day. I’ve had more than a few bones to pick with them. They graciously reached out to me. Here’s a portion of their reply:

Transit often has delays that it experiences on the road that it must contend with to maintain the schedule. For the most part, these delays may be out of the Transit’s system’s hands.  However, delays also happen depending on the amount of bus stops on a particular route.  This is one thing that the Transit department can control.  Looking at three corridors (Albert Street, Broad Street, Victoria Avenue) there are opportunities where there is low ridership and bus stops that are placed too close together to minimize delays to buses on the route.  The result is a better on time performance and a quicker trip for the customers to make the transit system more time competitive with the private automobile.

This is not a cut to bus service hours or a reduction in service.

(Emphasis mine)

Literally removing service from a block presently served by a stop, isn’t a reduction? Someone doesn’t have to check a dictionary to know that’s doublespeak. The real point Transit is trying to make is that people won’t notice the reduction because overall the trip times may go down and ridership could increase. That all remains to be seen.

Really it’s everyone doing the one thing they can control, and the real/best solutions are not being discussed. As a citizen all I can do is object to City Council (and Regina Transit) about this bonehead maneuver to remove 40 stops. As Regina Transit all they can do is change routes or remove or add stops, they can’t add more buses like they really need. City Council is the problem (which we the citizens are responsible for), they won’t provide the buses and drivers and enforcement, and HOV lanes required to have an effective system. So we get half measures that force Regina Transit into turning major streets into pretend express routes all day and night, leaving people to walk 3+ blocks to catch a bus when right now it’s every other block.
And the stops will fill in with parked cars for free instead, and people crossing won’t be as visible to vehicle traffic, and cyclists will have more doors to contend with too. It’s not even close to the spirit of the Transportation Master Plan.

Don't make me come back there! #transit

GOOSE PLAINS, SK – The City of Goose Plains announced they’ll be soon requiring the spacing of all private car parking spots 400m from each location. This will reduce traffic congestion, and enhance convenience for drivers, as they will not need to drive as great a distance in most cases to park their vehicle where it will sit for more than 23 hours a day.

UPDATE: The result – http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/some-regina-bus-routes-stops-change-1.3739679

Transit Union Makes Some Points

Baker said Regina Transit hasn’t kept up with the growing city and increasing ridership. The schedules don’t have enough time built in to catch up lest something not go according to plan, he explained.

“Our scheduling that we give to the passengers is essentially our promise to the people. If we can’t maintain that bus on time, they’re not going to ride,” said Lucier.

Baker thinks the solution is more buses on the road. While the city has touted new vehicle purchases, Baker said those are only maintaining the fleet; buses are still pulled off the road regularly for maintenance, causing cancelled runs.

Baker also wants to see route redrawing: shortening runs and moving toward increased frequency.

That’s all true, based on what I’ve seen, and what I’ve heard from drivers.

Day Passes on #Transit Buses in Regina?

It’s 2016, and the issue of not being able to buy Day passes on the buses in Regina has existed and been raised with Transit on multiple occasions. My previous solution suggested to them hasn’t got anywhere for years, so I provided a low-tech solution today.

UPDATE: Jan 26 call back:
Regina Transit will not upgrade the fare boxes’ software to print Day Passes, and won’t accept the low tech solution that requires drivers to have a stash of passes available for purchase. They insist that Day Passes are “readily available” at places like Safeway or at the Transit office downtown. “Oh really,” I say. What about a visitor I want to take around town? We have to get onto a bus for $3, get off downtown, go into the Transit office (if it’s open), buy the pass for $9, then wait for the next bus to go by to begin our journey.

So carrying even a $45 Day Pass inventory on each bus would cost the City? “Absolutely.” With only 33 sold a month city wide, that would meet present demand. If it sold out, at least people would have the opportunity at convenience rather than assuring none.

“It has been discussed and it’s not something we’re going to do.”

So why do we offer a Day Pass at all if only 33 purchased at $8, and we’ve raised the price to $9?

His response was that maybe they’ll look at ending the Day Pass.

I’m looking out for tourists and transit riders in our city, and what is Regina Transit doing for them? Raising their fares as fuel prices plummet, and failing to use technology and employees already on their buses to their full abilities.

Why Aren’t Regina Buses All Full?

The reason families aren’t using the SGI New Year’s Eve  “ride free”promotion, is because taking family to supper at 5pm is about $10! And the $10 must be paid in coins, no cash because fare boxes don’t support it. $8 day/family passes are not offered on the bus, only at the Transit Office downtown and only work on weekends for a family.

New Year’s rides are not free as advertised, only if you get on the bus after 7pm! Clearly it’s designed only for people driving to a party where they’d have to abandon their car overnight if they take the bus home. Then, if they want to get their car on New Year’s Day, there’s NO bus service to take the driver back to it (for another $3).

URSU, where I buy Transit rides at the UofR, has inconveniently closed early for the holiday season, so I have to make a special trip to fill up my R-Card with less expensive 2015 rides. We don’t yet offer online payments for people to pay for bus rides.

We should be reducing the transit fare until buses are full, not raising it.

UPDATE: A year later, they cut another hour of free service.

#YQRcc Council’s Deliberations On The U-Pass

4:30 Hawkins:”Doing a little bit of social engineering here.”

“I’m worried about the environment too, and quite frankly I don’t think this is going to help the environment one bit! I think they way we’re going to help the environment in the next 20 & 30 & 40 years is to build better cars that pollute less, that run on energy efficient clean fuels and that are built with materials that are recyclable. In other words, I think that we’re going to solve the problem of urban transit with technological innovation.

I’m well aware that some people disagree with this, but that’s what I think is going to happen. I don’t think it’s a realistic vision of the future to think that in a Winter city, like Regina, that we are going to abandon cars en masse, Therefore I think the correct solution is not to try and change the culture, but to allow people choice, and to make sure that we have available to people, technologically clean choices. That’s the direction urban transit will go in the future.”

8:15 O’Donnell: “The way I look at this, is a group of students in a democratic society…, who chose to vote and go with something… I like that.”

9:15 Fraser: “For people that’ll never use it, it means better parking actually.”
“Students don’t have to buy a car… this is really going to save them thousands of dollars.”
“The big cultural change piece here, we’re going to start graduating transit riders, when they graduate university and keep riding the bus.”

11:20 Bryce: “I truly think this is a good deal for the people of Regina.”

11:50 Burnett: “I have to be honest, I actually changed my point of view from when the package first came into the system, when I was very uncomfortable and nervous about the numbers around the vote, but as we started getting into the discussions I think and certainly others have mentioned the key benefits to the City are a chance to get $1.6Mil in revenue. In terms of the enhanced bus service in parts of the city, my Ward, Ward 4, certainly will benefit from those services. But I think in my mind, the change in my mind came from I guess the professionalism of the delegations of students coming forward. At my age I gotta start to recognize as time moves on, to start putting trust into the next generation. And I have to believe and trust you folks who are on the ground at the campus, you’re hearing from students daily, and it would be your phone that would be rung off the hook if it’d been a backlash. … Is it really our responsibility to question how you raise the money? …Health and Dental, I’m sure the insurance carrier wasn’t questioning if the students were going to pay.”
15:46 Flegel: “Mr. Enright, the last time we had a non-profit come here and say we’ll give you $1.6Mil, if you help us out?”
Mayor: “Trick question Mr. Enright.”
Enright: “Your Worship, in the time I’ve been here, that has not happened. And to the best of my knowledge prior to that it did not happen.”
Flegel: “They’re offering to give us $1.6Mil to help them out, and we’re debating this? Originally I was not for it, because I was looking more on the side of us vs. them, but it’s become a community affair and it’s not just the university students anymore, yes they’re funding it because it’s directly related to what they want, but it also helps the city out with 5 buses…” “A non-profit.. it’s pretty stable ground in my books.”

17:00 Young: “I am so for this.”
“Ward 1, where we have parking issues, and also the UofR is in Ward 1.” She compliments the City and students being able to come up with an agreement in a short span of time.

18:00 Hincks: “I too will be supporting this.” Expresses concern for areas of the city without sidewalks where people have to walk to the bus.

19:00 Mayor: Initially not in favour, and now is. “I’m not so sure it will revolutionize how we take Transit in the city, I think that will be evolutionary over a number of years. But anytime we can enhance bus service across the city, that’s very good as well.
“included or excluded from voting”
He seemed to remark that some URSU students living outside of the City were not allowed to vote, which is not the case. Devon made this clarification to the media after.

Here’s how things were when the delegation first appeared before Council, and Hawkins started grilling them like McCarthy.