Also on the agenda will be a presentation from Hayley Carson from the Climate Friendly Zone campaign, update from the recent We Are Cities roundtable hosted by Bus Riders of Saskatoon, discussion of Saskatoon Transit’s Fleet Renewal Plan, the upcoming City of Saskatoon Budget 2016 public input meeting, and more.
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.
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?
Every month, three members of the Bus Riders of Saskatoon meet with representatives from Saskatoon Transit. This enables us to ask questions about our transit system, understand ongoing changes, and propose solutions to improve our public transportation. Read the minutes for the meeting here: Meeting #8 – May 13 2015
This month, there were several issues including the cost of a perfectly running Saskatoon transit system, funding strategies for Saskatoon Transit, upgrades to the Confederation bus stop, communication with bus riders and concerned citizens, and the status of bus shelters.
The Bus Riders of Saskatoon wanted to know what what costs were included to calculate a perfectly running transit system. We were told that included only current operation costs, and it did not include snow clearing or waste receptacles. It did focus on the age of buses and the number of buses to mechanics. They hope to have the report by June or July.
The federal government promised more funding for transit using a P3 strategy if they were re-elected. Our group was curious as to how Saskatoon Transit receives funding. They noted that the new bus barn is a P3 endeavour. They also lease their tires.
For those of you who use the Confederation bus stop between the Superstore and the Confederation Mall, you might have noticed that the shelter was removed again this year. Upgrades will start May 19th. They plan to make a larger platform, to replace the shelter, and to add a ramp for access to the Superstore. (If you’ve made that trip in an icy winter weather, or after a rain, I’m sure you’ll be happy about this change!) They also hope to add seating through the summer.
The City of Saskatoon is forming an Active Transportation Plan. They will have another consultation on May 23 from 10 am to 4 pm at River Landing. Click here for more information.
Saskatoon Transit will give names to all of their stops in the coming months. This will be useful for their ITS system, which will call out names for every stop. It was suggested that the bus stops should have a sticker to note the times that buses can be expected. This item will be addressed again in a future meeting.
While many of our riders feel that the shelters are too small, Saskatoon Transit noted that this might not change soon. Right of way is a concern, and utilities restricts the installation of residential shelters.
The next meeting will be next month. If you would like to attend, our group would like you to attend one of our Bus Riders of Saskatoon meetings in the three months prior to the Saskatoon Transit meeting. We hope that you can! Your ideas, experience, and friendly personality are welcome!
The City of Saskatoon is developing an Active Transportation Plan. Active Transportation is any form of human-powered transportation for all ages and abilities such as walking, jogging, cycling, skateboarding, and persons using mobility aids.
This part of the Growth Plan to Half a Million involves developing an Active Transportation Plan to provide people more choice in how we move around Saskatoon by addressing our community and infrastructure needs to make cycling, walking and other modes of active transportation attractive.
Bus Riders of Saskatoon has been invited to participate in the Stakeholder Advisory Committee for the ATP. You can get involved in the following two ways:
- Attend the Family-Friendly Drop-in on May 23, 2015, from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. at River Landing near the Pump House.
- Fill in the Online Survey before May 29, 2015.
Three Bus Riders of Saskatoon, Sarina, Mandy, and Dianne, met with representative of the Saskatoon Transit for Meeting #7. The Interim Assistant Director, the Marketing Manager, and two Operations Superintendents were able to attend the meeting.
During the April 12, 2015 Bus Riders of Saskatoon meeting, a member questioned the usefulness of these meetings. Prior to the creation of the Bus Riders of Saskatoon, interested individuals had previously met with Saskatoon Transit in suggest to improvements for Saskatoon’s public transportation.
We have been told that there Saskatoon Transit does not have a formal process in place for collecting information gathered at these monthly meetings. However, having Saskatoon Transit managers and any other relevant staff present to hear our feedback first hand allows them to fit them directly into their work plan. This has included the discussion of strollers on buses, and additional training for staff. The Bus Riders of Saskatoon have also been told that Saskatoon Transit is a slow moving ship. This indicates that change is slow to happen. For example, suggestions from an earlier meeting held with Saskatoon Transit regarding beautification of bus shelters will occur this summer. Art has been designed for bus shelters downtown.
So, to all of our members, whether through Facebook, our Gmail group, or anyone else who supports our cause through word-of-mouth: Please keep providing suggestions for input at these meeting with Saskatoon Transit. You can send an email to email@example.com or express yourself on Facebook.
What is it?
The 10 Days for Transit initiative by Bus Riders of Saskatoon, Better Transit YXE, the University of Saskatchewan Student’s Union, The Partnership, and interested individuals is encouraging the people of Saskatoon to try our public transportation system. Between April 14 – 24, we ask “What would it take for you to ride the bus?”
Only 5 percent of people use public transit as their main method of moving around our city. We want to create a strategy to understand what it will take to improve this statistic.
- Can we improve this if people try our transit system as-is?
- Are more bus routes necessary?
- Would more frequent buses ease your transition?
- Perhaps dedicated bus lanes?
If you are a frequent bus rider, be on the look out for new riders and help them along their way!
Check out this video of a few new bus riders and their experience:
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. They will be very much appreciated in our meetings with Saskatoon Transit.