Free Transit on Election Day

Free Transit

The City of Saskatoon will be providing FREE TRANSIT on election day (Monday, October 19, 2015).

Everyone will be able to hop on the bus no questions asked on Monday, October 19, 2015. This is exciting news for Saskatonians and will hopefully allow the opportunity for many to get to polling stations.

 

When to Vote

Monday October 19th. Polls are open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Federal law requires anyone who is eligible to vote must have three consecutive hours to cast their vote on election day. If your hours of work do not allow for three consecutive hours to vote, your employer must give you time off. Sadly this does not necessarily mean three hours off of work! Only that employers must ensure that you have three hours of time when polls are open, with no loss of pay. Find out more about time off for voting from Elections Canada.

 

Where to Vote

Not sure where your polling station is? Check out Elections Canada and enter your postal code in the voter information tab and hit “go”.

 

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You will then get a page that tells you what your electoral district is. On the right hand side click the link in the frequently asked questions labeled “where do I vote?”. After entering your street, city, and province, hit “search” and then you can see a map and details of your poling station with information on accessibility.

 

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Getting There

How do I get to my polling station? Here are a few ways to plan your trip:

1. Use Google Maps to plan your route;

2. Use TransitApp  to plan your route;

3. Saskatoon Transit’s real-time web application to check the arrival of your bus. Watch this video for more information on how to use this feature; and

4. Call Saskatoon Transit’s customer service line at 306-975-3100.

 

Don’t Forget Your Identification

Not sure what ID to bring? No worries, go here to see a list of acceptable ID. You DO NOT need a photo ID to vote. If you do not have a photo ID, you can show two pieces of ID where one contains your current address, including, but not limited to, your health card, birth certificate, social insurance number card, and many others. If you do not have an ID with your current address, you can take an oath, show two pieces of ID and have someone who is registered in the same polling division attest for you (swear they know you and your current address). If you have someone attest for you, keep in mind they can only attest for one person.

 

You Matter

And to those who don’t think their one vote matters? In the last Federal election in 2011, the riding of Nipissing—Timiskaming in Ontario had 225 spoiled or rejected ballots and the winner was decided by a margin of 18 votes. As recently as this spring, the Calgary-Glenmore riding in the Alberta Provincial election was decided by six (yes, 6) votes.

Get out and vote!  Apathy is the enemy of Democracy.

Saskatoon Transit Five Year Plan

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

 

Recently at the Standing Policy Committee on Transportation meeting, the new Director of Transit, Jim McDonald,  presented a brief report on the Saskatoon Transit Five Year plan to Council regarding their direction for the next five years.

Though there wasn’t much new that hasn’t been covered in previous reports to council, with respect to the relocation of the “bus barns” to Saskatoon Transit’s new facility as part of the Civic Operations Centre, or the state of fleet renewal, there appears to be a renewed focus on customer service and public engagement as part of Saskatoon Transit’s plan for the near future.

This is an area many transit users would likely agree has been lacking, not just in recent years but for some time. It would seem that this new emphasis on customer service and increased engagement is the first significant impact of the new Director of Transit, Jim McDonald.

Adding a new section within Transit and adding another manager could be seen as “managerial bloat”. It could also been seen as a positive sign for the future. It removes customer service responsibilities from the operations section and places it within a section dedicated to customer service. This section will have a manager not only responsible for for client care, but he or she will have the authority to act, and report directly to the Director of Transit.

A high level manager focused on customer service and public engagement, without the distraction of operational responsibilities, demonstrates this new Director’s commitment to bus riders in this city. It also indicates the importance of developing customer service within Saskatoon Transit so that people will want to use it, by choice, and not out of necessity or lack of other options.

While I am not generally an optimist by nature, this does give me hope for the future of Saskatoon Transit. Nevertheless, hopes can, and often need to be, fulfilled through work. As great as the challenge of improving customer service may be, the greater challenge is likely to be at City Council. Ensuring that Saskatoon Transit receives City Council’s support within future budgets, and not solely in words, will take a concerted effort.

 

No Bus is an Island: “We Are Cities” Roundtable Report

What is stopping us from building the kind of Saskatoon we all want to live in? Or, maybe a better question to ask would be, “Is anything stopping us?”

Maybe we just need to get out our shovels.


RT-Saskatoon-June11-updated

 

On Thursday June 11, 2015, a small but mighty group of people gathered at the Meewasin Valley Centre to take part in a roundtable discussion on transit and urban issues. Part of the We Are Cities project, the event was facilitated, skilfully and efficiently, by Sarina Gersher and Mandy Chen of Bus Riders of Saskatoon. Participants came at the questions from many different angles: some worked in public health, some in art and design, others in community organizing and social activism. Some were simply interested as citizens. But what became clear through the evening was that many of us recognize the same challenges in our city, and we also agree on some huge opportunities. The hard part is acting to pursue those possibilities.

Strengths and Challenges: Or, Why You Shouldn’t Ban Swimming

In two groups, participants discussed and presented what we felt were Saskatoon’s three greatest strengths and challenges. Without peeking, both groups produced nearly identical lists of strengths, identifying the river valley, or the accessibility of our natural features, our strong neighbourhood connections, and the vibrancy of culture as our city’s key assets . There was also an overlap in lists of challenges, which included racism, systems of social and economic disparity, resistance to change, car culture, and urban sprawl.

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