Free Election Day Transit in Regina/Saskatoon

How did it come about? Twitter played a role. Regina Transit initially wasn’t going to offer free transit on election day, despite doing so for a previous municipal election.

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Ridden Out On A Rail

I’d like @YoungBe_young to reject spending over $109,000,000 on moving rail lines that people will soon need to use again for transportation in and out of Regina. How many properties are paying tax in #yqrcc? Let’s assume a high 50,000. That’s $2200 each, to wait less in traffic on some streets, at uncommon times you encounter a long train. Can you think of a better way to spend more than two thousand of your tax dollars?

Additionally it would be a gift to private industry, since CP and CN are not publicly owned any longer. We already gave hundreds of millions of dollars to the Roughriders so they’d have a shiny new stadium, and that raised the city’s debt noticeably. Property taxes have gone up for that as a result of  stadium spending.

For less than half the cost of  a gift to CP/CN, we could have more than 50 new, electric buses. Yes, quiet, efficient, non-polluting public transportation that everyone can depend more on. That’s how you wait less in traffic, the smart way. The stupid way is to give twice as much money to ripping out infrastructure that should be publicly owned still.

We should be able to take low-polluting trains to other points in Canada from our capital city. That opportunity was robbed from my generation, back in 1990. To ensure our kid’s generation has an opportunity to raise kids, we need to restore this mode of transportation to supremacy in the next decade. Wasting $109Mil moving Regina in the wrong direction is irresponsible, financially reckless, and contradicts the 100% Renewable by 2050 motion passed by Council last year.grain car

Little Transit Progress Steps

Councillor Stevens sent this message to the RCPTC transit activism group:

“This Thursday, the Community and Protective Services Committee will consider a proposal to introduce an airport route. A report on improving Sunday and holiday service was positively received by the Committee a few months ago, and has advanced to the budget deliberation stage. The Accessibility Advisory Committee is reconvening, the costs of monthly passes have gone down, and a low-income pass was introduced.

Keep up the great work!

Andrew”

These are certainly welcome items. If you can help convince the Committee on Thursday we have people harmed by having no Airport route, please do so.

We need bigger improvements in the medium and long terms, so let’s keep pushing for them.

Transit Report To Improve Regina

Six years ago I ran a transit petition in the city, with a specific list of changes needed to immediately improve bus services in Regina. I also helped re-initiate the U-Pass discussion at the University of Regina, which led to implementation of the U-Pass a few years later. Unfortunately there haven’t been many significant improvements since, even though we face a climate crisis, and transit is a key to fighting it here in Regina.

City Council pledged to make Regina renewable by 2050, but they’ve not put our money where their mouths were.

Here’s the straight-forward list, shamefully not complete half a decade later:
X More frequent stop times after 9PM for routes serving major streets.
X Sundays and Holidays use the Saturday routes and schedule.
IN PROGRESS: Express routes on major roads including but not limited to Albert St., Broad St., Victoria Ave. & E.,
NOT DONE: Dewdney Ave., and Rochdale Blvd. Where possible, bus-only lanes will be created, and strictly enforced to reduce Transit delays.
Unclear if this is fixed: Enough Para-Transit resources made available to reduce by half or more, the 2011 monthly average number of stranded users requesting service, by the end of 2013.
X Bus or Shuttle service to the Regina #YQR Airport.

ADDED:

“Oh, can you pass on to them that the Number 8 route is The Best Route in the city. And it’s starting to get busier. People are discovering this transit secret.”

Carla Harris:
‏”Also test #YqrTransit on foot. Many residential bus stops & even stops on main roads are without sidewalks, which makes them inaccessible all winter & wet spring. You won’t notice these accessibility limitations until planners try walk to destinations from drop points themselves.”

Contact the City for an Airport Bus

We’ll have to offer Service Regina our support of bus service to the Airport. The online survey Regina Transit has set up isn’t as useful as it should be, because they don’t list the obvious Airport Route as an option! There’s also the budget suggestion page where you can increase Transit’s budget as they need.

The Mayor is still confused about the need for a Regina Transit bus to go to the Regina Airport.
“We know there are employees that go out there, and certainly does that warrant having a bus system that goes out there continuously? We don’t know that.”

Councillor Hawkins: “I do support Transit going to the Airport, but we have to do it in the right way… [we] don’t want to run empty buses.”
Mayor wants “a business case made”.
It’s the Design Regina Official Community Plan. Follow it!

Otherwise we’re left with people unfamiliar with Regina following my terrifying example:

Regina’s Bus Situation Gets More Absurd

The SaskParty’s spectacularly bad move to end the inter-city bus service STC keeps getting worse. The international bus line Greyhound has moved their service out of Regina’s downtown, into the airport. This might not have been such a problem, except there is no public transit bus (or even a private one) to the airport! So a bus rider is forced to walk an unsafe long route, bum a ride, or use an expensive cab to use the ‘affordable’ Greyhound inter-city bus.

Waschuk hopes Greyhound will expand its presence at the airport.

Likewise, he’d like to see city bus service to the airport — although that is unlikely in the very near future.

Brad Bells, director of Regina Transit, said city bus service to the airport is “on our horizon,” but unlikely to occur in 2018.

Regina Transit’s next priority is an Arcola Express bus, connecting downtown to southeast neighbourhoods like Greens on Gardiner.

Waschuk said the airport’s tenants and prospective tenants have been wondering about bus service for their employees.

“There’s 1,000 people in the airport campus out here, counting all the buildings and tenants. … That number’s going to continue to grow,” said Waschuk.

He also sees bus service as valuable for Regina residents in general, including university students and seniors.

“I remember my own daughter when she was at university in Saskatoon, she took the bus to the airport all the time for economic reasons,” said Waschuk.

“It’s a good idea to be able to connect to the airport using public transit. Most cities have that.”

It’s a grim situation for people who don’t drive cars when only 1 in 3 Regina MPs cares about the problem, and 1 of 11 on Regina City Council wants to see a bus to the airport.