Minutes of Meeting #10, March 11, 2015

The tenth meeting of Bus Riders of Saskatoon was held on Sunday, March 11, 2015, at the Saskatoon Food Bank. Meeting minutes are available if you need to catch up or just have a bad memory like me!

Special thanks to our guests Councillor Mairin Loewen for sharing her views on public transit as well as Brian and Shannon from Better Transit YXE for their thoughts on encouraging discussion about public transit in Saskatoon.

See you at the next meeting, 1:30 p.m. Sunday April 12, 2015, at the Saskatoon Food Bank.

The Transit App – Initial Thoughts

This guest post contains the opinion of the writer and does not represent the official views of Bus Riders of Saskatoon.

 

After years (or what seemed like years) of waiting for Saskatoon Transit to both equip their fleet with GPS and provide real time information on bus locations that day finally arrived as described in a previous post a few weeks ago.

No doubt many of you immediately tried out the new Saskatoon Transit website, especially the new trip planning tool and the real time bus location functions as did I. Like myself, many of you were probably cautiously optimistic, only to be somewhat let down by the new website. It’s adequate if you are on a computer, but on your phone? Not so much.

Saskatoon Transit has stated that they have no plans to develop a mobile app, instead relying on the website which is designed to be “mobile friendly”. I have not found it to be very “mobile friendly”, nor easy and convenient to use on my phone. Their decision may be a good one in a way, as it seems that every other transit system that uses similar software (which to my knowledge is based on the Trapeze software commonly used by public transit systems) seems to have similar problems. Edmonton Transit did release their own mobile app, to poor reviews and much derision.

Fortunately there is an alternative, and probably more to come. The Transit App, developed by a Montreal company is one of many mobile apps available for transit users. Like most apps, this one was basing its information on available public schedules but did not have real time information.

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Minutes from Meeting #6 with Saskatoon Transit

Three of our member, (Sarina, Samuel, and Robert), met with Saskatoon Transit for the Bus Riders of Saskatoon Meeting #6.  It took place on March 11, 2015.

Among the topics discussed:

  • The Downtown Bus Mall
  • Signal Prioritization
  • Bus Service to North Industrial in the Future
  • Data Collection
  • The New Website
  • Snow Removal
  • Safety Protocols

These meetings are held each month. Three people from our group attend. Besides Sarina, who attends regularly to ensure institutional memory and compile minutes, these members change. If you would like to attend a meeting, the group asks that you first attend the Bus Rider of Saskatoon’s monthly meeting. For those who cannot attend, please email any concerns or ideas to [email protected].  They will be very much appreciated in our meetings with Saskatoon Transit.

The New Saskatoon Transit Webpage

The City of Saskatoon has launched a new website for Saskatoon Transit.

Particularly new is the addition of a Real Time Map, which allows a rider to track a bus on its route.  If you want to wait inside while the bus runs a few minutes late, you now have that luxury!  In order to access it through your smart phone, you’ll need to use a different process.   Saskatoon Transit has provided these instructions, with special instructions for mobile users in regards to data usage:

 To view the information you simply head to the “Stop Schedules and Departures” menu item in the mobile trip planner and put in your 4 digit stop number.  There’s also a link to find your stop number on the same page if you’re not sure of it.

The Real Time Map is only intended for desktop use as the feature has very heavy data usage.  Be cautious in regards to viewing the ‘moving bus’ map on a mobile device, unless users are connected to wifi.

Users are able to see the status of buses on the mobile trip planner menu without having to open up the ‘moving bus’ map.  The 4 digit stop numbers can be favorited by users by clicking on the star icon for quick future usage.

You can watch a video to get more details and instructions on this new feature.

Let us know in the comment section below how it’s working for you.   Also, let Saskatoon Transit know in a couple of different ways.  Phone, email, or drop in to their Customer Service Centre.  Or, sign up to be an ongoing part of their Engagement activities.  As always, feel free to give the Bus Riders of Saskatoon your opinions on our Facebook page, send an email to our group, or join us at our monthly meeting!

Speak Out for Transit: Be Part of Growing Forward in March 2015

 

[AD] Feb-March 2015 Growth Plan Public Engagement

The City of Saskatoon has been working on a Growing Forward plan over the past year, gathering public input and crafting strategies for transit and development that will shape our city for years to come. One of the key items up for discussion is a plan for introducing Bus Rapid Transit, which we spoke about previously.

Do you have any thoughts on these issues? Do you want to learn more?

Now is your chance.

On March 3 at TCU Place, and on March 10 at the university, the city will be presenting what they’ve got so far, and asking for input from the public to make it better. If you can attend any of these events, you should. We’ll all benefit from having an informed and vocal body of citizens scrutinizing this plan. What does it do well? Where does it fall short? Where do we need a bolder vision? How can we implement it effectively?

Even if you can’t make it out to the public events, you can still make your voice heard. Starting on February 25, and running till March 18, you can give feedback through an online survey at the Growing Forward website.

 

 

City of Saskatoon Meeting #5

The University Bridge closure. A new Adopt-a-Stop program. Real-time transit info.

Read all about it, right here.

These are the minutes from our fifth meeting with the Saskatoon Transit administration, on February 11, 2015. The discussion was wide ranging, and also covered questions about Access Transit, problematic bus stops, and the formation of the new Transit Advisory Committee.

Every month, three members from Bus Riders of Saskatoon have the opportunity to meet with transit management at the City of Saskatoon. This allows us to have a forum for discussion and a channel for communication between our groups. If you would like to see an item added to the next meeting’s agenda, please email [email protected] with the subject “City of Saskatoon Meetings – Agenda”.

Past meeting minutes are all available on the Meeting Minutes page.

 

BRT FAQ – Shannon McAvoy’s Helpful Guide

As part of the Growing Forward Plan, the City of Saskatoon is developing a plan for implementing Bus Rapid Transit. This is a fantastic idea. You should be excited. You should share your views – the next public consultations will be happening in March.

However, if you’re asking questions like “what on earth is bus rapid transit?” and “why is it such a good idea?” you’re not alone. Shannon McAvoy over at Better Transit YXE has written a helpful post answering these very questions. You can read an excerpt below – then click through and read the original post.


Is BRT a new Sandwich at Tim Hortons?

No. Bus Rapid Transit is a bus-based mass transit system. A BRT system generally has specialized design, services and infrastructure to improve system quality and remove the typical causes of delay. Sometimes described as a “surface subway,” BRT aims to combine the capacity and speed of light rail or a metro with the flexibility, lower cost and simplicity of a bus system.

Why is BRT relevant to Saskatoon?

Saskatoon is growing and so is the demand for fast and efficient transportation. Cars and roadways are an expensive, space-wasting and inefficient solution. That is why the City of Saskatoon is looking to plan for a more efficient transit system that will alleviate congestion and promote accessibility. Their current citizen engagement project called Growing Forward! Shaping Saskatoon! Is exploring rapid transit options that would serve as the spine of Saskatoon Transit services. Instead of light rail, Saskatoon is following in the footsteps of many other Canadian cities like Winnipeg and Gatineau and looking into Bus Rapid Transit.

Read the Full post over at Better Transit YXE.

Robert Clipperton Encourages City Councillor Bus Use in Presentation to the Standing Committee on Transportation

On Monday, January 12th, the City of Saskatoon’s Standing Committee on Transportation held its meeting. Members of the Bus Riders of Saskatoon, including presenter Robert Clipperton, were there to express the views of our group.
We asked for members of the City’s Council to gain first hand experience on our buses, for the committee to research methods to gain new bus riders who have a choice in riding the bus, and for the Transit Advisory Committee to be established soon.  Read January 12, 2015 Presentation to the Standing Committee on Transportation for the full text.

Minutes from our Seventh Meeting, December 14, 2014

The Bus Riders of Saskatoon held its seventh meeting on Sunday, December 14th, 2014 at the Saskatoon Food Bank.  If you would like to know what happened at that meeting, please see: Minutes for Meeting Seven – Bus Riders of Saskatoon.  It includes updates on our Internal, External, and Online committees, as well as short term and long term goals.  There was also dicussion on how to categorize ongoing transit problems, ways to build upon motions from the motions made during the City of Saskatoon’s budget deliberations, and other initatives to further our group’s cause.