The Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) was shut down last year and Greyhound will be stopping Western Canada service at the end of October.
People living with disabilities, particularly those with mobility issues and rely on wheelchairs, have been left wondering how to get around. Some rely on rides with friends and family, others need to take expensive cab rides to get to things like doctor’s appointments in other communities.
In Regina, the group Transportation for All is looking to get help from the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission (SHRC), pushing the province to add some kind of accessible transit service.
Transportation for All is working with human rights lawyer Larry Kowalchuk on their plan, which includes a letter writing campaign.
Charlene Eger, who needs a wheelchair to get around, said their reading of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Code points to the end of accessible community-to-community transit is discriminatory.
“It’s not just for people like ourselves, it’s for seniors that can’t get around to appointments or go visit family,” Eger said.
Eger added that they are holding a letter writing campaign to further their case with the SHRC. Eger said that people interested in contributing can email her.
For transportation, Eger said that now she can’t go and visit friends in Saskatoon and has difficulty going home to Moosomin. Her parents will be driving to Regina to pick her up, and then head back to Moosomin for Thanksgiving.
“I feel like I’m trapped, imprisoned in my community that I can’t get away. I can’t get out of Regina unless I have family come and take me, or a friend, but a lot of my friends don’t have wheelchair accessible vehicles,” she said.
DiCal Transport and Rider Express have both begun providing transit services since STC was shuttered, but neither offer wheelchair accessible rides.
Rider Express was looking into buying accessible vans in the spring, but they were not able to secure funding.
Now, the company said they are in the process of acquiring 55 passenger buses with the goal of beginning to serve Western Canada once Greyhound leaves. Some of the buses will be wheelchair accessible.
A company spokesperson said that they can’t disclose what routes will have accessible transit at this time.
Eger said she has emailed Rider Express about accessible transit, and has been told they plan to offer the service in the near future.