Organizers of the Regina Transit Challenge hope to show City Council what’s missing in bus service
For Andrew Reist, every day is a transit challenge.
He doesn’t have a driver’s license but is happy to show you his trusty R-Card, the tool he uses to get on every Regina city bus when he needs to buy groceries, visit friends, or get to and from work, like he does five days a week Week.
While the experience isn’t perfect, it works for him — at least most of the time.
“While the service is great during the week, you know, maybe it would be nice to run it a little later,” he told CBC News on Tuesday. “A look at the weekend or Sunday service would be absolutely amazing”,
Despite a growing population, the city’s transit service could not keep up with demand, according to the Regina Transit Master Plan.
It is more expensive, has lower per capita income and fewer employees than similar transit systems in Canada.
WATCH| Organizers of the Regina Transit Challenge hope to show City Council what’s missing from bus services:
The Regina Citizens Public Transit Coalition says all of these reasons played a role in the decision to ask the city’s elected officials to rely on Regina Transit for 48 hours for all transportation. The coalition says this will give councilors an idea of what the system’s actual usage is like for those who rely on it.
Terri Sleeva, a member of the coalition, said people didn’t want to ride the bus because the service in Regina was poor.
“It’s not Regina Transit’s fault. They’re doing the best they can with the money [city council] give it,” Sleeva said.
Sleeva said four councilors agreed to participate in the challenge between March 6 and March 19. They would submit feedback on a questionnaire, and the coalition would then share those responses with the public.
District 1 count. Cheryl Stadnichuk had just finished her 48 hours at Regina Transit when she spoke to CBC last week.
Stadnichuk said it’s the first time she’s had to rely on the Regina Transit system in decades and that her experience is good.
“I think some people think about it [transit as being for] People who are poor or who can’t afford a car,” she said.
“It’s actually a good option to get around the city if you want. So we just have to make it as efficient as possible for people.”
Stadnichuk said she will make sure to continue using the bus, calling it a good way to connect with her constituents and will keep her experience in mind when discussing possible future issues related to mass transit will vote at City Hall.
Mayor Sandra Masters has confirmed that she is not participating in the challenge, although she said she may do so at a later date.
Masters said their schedule was locked weeks in advance and was already fully booked by the time of the challenge.
“Because I’m here and I’m there and I’m everywhere, we didn’t set up the transit system to allow for some kind of back-to-back bookings,” she said.
Instead, one of the mayor’s staff will participate in the challenge to provide feedback to the coalition.
Reist said if those responsible don’t drive the bus, they don’t know about the problems.
“They’re busy most of the time, but I think they should be able to take the time to see the system that they have and that they’re managing,” he said.
For Sleeva, the mayor’s response underscores the issue the coalition is trying to convey to the council. Not everyone has the opportunity or ability not to use city transport.
“If it were better service, we wouldn’t have this problem,” she said.