Saskatoon Transit Fleet Renewal Strategy

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

Recently the Saskatoon Transit Fleet Renewal Strategy was presented to the Standing Policy Committee on Transportation. In it, Saskatoon Transits recommends that the City set a target for an average fleet age more in line with industry standards, by using $4.95 million in gas tax funds to purchase 10 new buses.

This is a profound step in the right direction for Saskatoon Transit.  First, they are setting service standards, which is something done in other departments.  Also, management is beginning to tell Council what they need to hear, not what they want to hear. Read More

We Are Cities Transit Roundtable

Bus Riders of Saskatoon is hosting a We Are Cities roundtable with a focus on public transit, on Thursday June 11, 2015, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Please register here, and help shape the future of our city and cities across the country.

 

The We Are Cities Project seeks to build a vision and action plan to make Canadian cities healthy and exciting places to live, work and play. We Are Cities also has a great summary of the recent 10 Days for Transit event here in Saskatoon, written by Brian Hoessler of Better Transit YXE.

 

 

We Are Cities

 

Cost Effectiveness Guide for Saskatoon Transit

Is using public transit cost effective you? Are you an intermittent user or potential user of Saskatoon Transit and you are not sure which fare option is right for you? Do you tire of scrounging for change to use as bus fare? This cost effectiveness guide for Saskatoon Transit should help you decide which fare option is right for you.

In a recent column, Jordon Cooper makes the claim that “it is cheaper to drive and pay for parking at their place of employment than it is to take transit”. While I plan a more in depth rebuttal to his column, I’d like to challenge one of the assertions made in his column, namely the cost of the cash fare of $3.10.

Frankly, there is no reason anyone should pay the cash fare when so many different fare options are available to both current and potential transit users. Cash is only one way to pay, and it is the most expensive. But with all of these options, which one is right for you?

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

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. Read More