Transit Plan Heading to Council

Just came back from the Community and Protection Services Committee meeting at which the Transit Investment Plan was discussed. In short, it's recommendations were passed unanimously by the committee so it will be going on to council with their endorsement.

This was another of those big idea meetings that attracted a big turnout from the community. Five delegations spoke before the committee, four of which were there to laud the report and the transit department for putting it together. The last delegation was also generally favourable of it but had issues with the placement of the downtown transit hub and how it would affect parking. (Always, the bloody parking.)

Also discussed at this meeting was the proposed transit fare increase. It too passed unanimously and will go forward to council for final approval.

Here, there was one delegation who spoke against the hike. Her points were interesting: The last increase came last summer so this is two increases over a year and there hasn't been a similar boost to welfare or the minimum wage. The fare increase, then, hits low income families disproportionately hard. The administration pointed out, though, that Regina's service is still among the most affordable in the country and the fare increase is needed to subsidize the transit improvements people are clamouring for.

Sooooo.... I guess the elephant in the room is that nifty transit plan isn't going to get very far if the transit department and council can't come up with other ways to fund it. Fare hikes can't do it all. The report makes mention of seeking out other funding options -- presumably through the federal and provincial governments -- but it remains to be seen if they'll find them.


Gregory Beatty said...

I doubt there's a city in Canada (in the top 25 anyway) that has shittier bus service than Regina does.

Barb Saylor said...

Comparisons with other cities and their systems is fraught with apples/oranges issues (as the Transit Investment Plan points out). For a city of this size, with a longstanding commitment to car culture, commitment to car culture, the transit system isn't all that bad. For one thing, the operators are much more friendly and helpful than their counterparts in other places, considering what they often have to put up with.
Having read the consultants' report and the action plan, and as a regular transit user,I'm encouraged.

Barb Saylor said...

Woop: sorry about the editing failure.

Paul Dechene said...

I think that longstanding commitment to car culture has been the problem all along. (And so worth repeating.)

But I'm also encouraged by the direction this report is pointing to.

Anonymous said...

On the "commitment to car culture": it's cold here. Try to convince people to wait for a bus that doesn't come near their house, can't be depended upon to always show up at the same time every day, meanders all over the city, and doesn't stop close enough to where they want to go, when they have a car. Pretty tough. I ride the bus sometimes but it is not my preferred method of travel due to these factors.
The new maps look pretty good for the most part and are a big part of what this city needs if it wishes for more people to ride the bus. Whether a new transit centre gets built or not, I feel the new 11th Ave / 12th Ave strategy is necessary. Things like a new transit centre and little screens that tell you where the busses are would be really nice, but new routes are NECESSARY. The length of time it takes to get from A to B to C with the current system is just ludicrous when you consider how small this city is. It is 20 minutes or less from virtually anywhere to anywhere else by car, but some places take 40 or more just to get downtown. There are plenty of ways to improve this, and even though the new routes are not perfect (no bus directly to the Northwest Leisure centre for example) they are a lot better than the ones we have now.
A lot of the things in the investment plan that costs money are great ideas but none are as essential as "get me there faster".

Side-note: I just noticed today that the downtown plan has a bike lane on Lorne street between 11th and 12th, in addition to most/all of the busses using the same stretch of road, in both directions. That will be a neat trick. Wouldn't Cornwall or Smith Street have been a better choice for a bike lane? Oh well.