Last spring Regina Transit, in response to a petition requesting expanded service on Sundays (when buses typically run hourly from 11 a.m.-6 p.m.) and stat holidays (when there's no service at all) to make it easier for transit users to do stuff like go to work/church and attend special holiday events, announced plans to extend service on Sundays (no mention was made of holidays) so that buses ran from 8 a.m.-7 p.m. At the same time it announced a fare increase (adult jumped from $2.10 a ride to $2.25).
The fare hike was instituted Aug. 1. Today, our office received a fax from Regina Transit announcing its intention to begin expanded Sunday service on Aug. 30. Oh good, I thought. But then I read this:
In order to better serve riders' needs and provide extended hours without significant budget impact, service was redesigned resulting in removal of service from limited areas of the city. Sunday service will operate on 11 routes. Only three of those routes will be the same as on weekdays. The Sunday routes were designed to provide service to as many of the religious buildings, shopping areas and activity centres as possible. This means walk distances to the bus stop may be longer in some instances. Where changes to routes have been made, bus stops will also indicate whether there will be no Sunday service at a particular stop and some new signs will be installed for Sunday service only.
What it boils down to is that instead of 18 routes, there will be 11. They'll have different names than existing routes, and their own numbering system (901 through 912). And the bus routes themselves, except for three, will all be different--sometimes radically so -- from the routes people ordinarily ride Monday-Saturday.
Uh yeah, right. I cycle for transportation as much as I can, but for a good four months of the year I rely heavily on Regina Transit for getting around, and I wholeheartedly support it as a service vital to any notion of Regina being a modern and progressive city. And this is a pathetic joke. Way to make transit use safer, more convenient and user-friendly. Yes granny, we'll give you Sunday service. Only thing is, you may have to walk a bit further to catch your bus. Yeah, it's icy in the winter. And cold too. And it gets dark early. And buses only run once an hour. So make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to make it to the stop (heh-heh).
I don't blame Regina Transit. That phrase in the first sentence "without significant budget impact" says it all. Regina Transit doesn't control its own purse strings. It works with the money it has.
I can't wait to see what the petition organizers will have to say about this.