Mandy Chen Deconstructs Transit Fare Increase in Presentation to City Council

During the December 2 Budget Review Meeting, Mandy Chen gave a presentation to City Council on behalf of Bus Riders of Saskatoon.

The issue being discussed was a proposed transit fare increase. Mandy presented a compelling case against the increase, and in the end, a majority of councillors agreed, voting to keep fares level and investigate ways to improve the transit system. The full text of Mandy’s address follows. Portions omitted due to a time constraint at the council meeting are included here.

 

Council Address Full Text

Good Afternoon Your Worship and Councillors.  My name is Mandy Chen. I’m here today representing a Saskatoon citizen advocacy group aiming at improving transit service: the Bus Riders of Saskatoon. Our group formed in early September this year by the riders for the riders in reaction to the major service deterioration resulting from the June 2014 changes to the preceding routes/schedules.  Currently there are over 300 active Facebook group members and we have held 6 regular meetings in the past 2 months in addition to other collective actions and 2 meetings with the City representatives.

Recently we observed several problems in the 2015 City Budget; we do not think there is enough investment to sustain let alone improve service. At the rate you’ve invested, our research shows that you have only invested enough to replace the current fleet of buses every 81 years. Despite this lack of investment, there is a proposed fare increase of $226,300. This is simply unacceptable. Reasons being, first, Public Transit is for everyone, so the cost should be shared by everyone; second, what is in urgent need right now is ridership increase rather than fare increase; and lastly the current fare is already high considering its service delivery. (more…)

December 14 general meeting. Join us!

Our next meeting will be Sunday, December 14th at 11 am at the Food Bank (202 Ave. C South). Details in our events calendar.

Last week, Saskatoon City Council voted to remove the proposed Transit Fare increase from their budget. They also directed administration to prepare some long-range reports re: transit improvements and fares. This is due to the efforts of Yatong Chen who presented on behalf of Bus Riders of Saskatoon to City Council in their budget deliberations, and Better Transit YXE (@BtrTransitYXE on twitter) which has been blogging and spreading the word about transit options, and, yes, the city councillors that voted not to increase fares.

Organizing for change can and does make a difference. If you’d like to help us advocate for better transit service in Saskatoon, please come out to our meeting this Sunday! (and feel free to RSVP on Facebook).

Join us at our next meeting!

Which will be held Sunday, November 2, 2014, from 1:00-3:00pm. We will be meeting at the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre at 202 Ave C South. This location is wheelchair accessible, and everyone is welcome.

To view the draft agenda, please visit the facebook event page:

https://www.facebook.com/events/305703759631803/

We will have minutes from previous meetings to help catch you up if this is your first time joining us. Hope to see you there!