Transit union challenges mayor and council to hop on board

Regina Transit served roughly seven million riders in 2018. File Photo / Global News

For many, public transit can be a lifeline to an ever-sprawling city. However, Regina’s transit service doesn’t seem to be keeping pace – mostly due to limited evening and weekend service.

“If you do miss a transfer,  you are sitting outside for an hour,” Amalgamated Transit Union Local 588 president Kevin Lucier said.

That’s why the union representing more than 200 Regina transit workers is challenging mayor Michael Fougere and council to give up their cars and rely on transit the week of March 17.

“I would hope that they would understand and see the challenges that our people and citizens are dealing with basically on a daily basis,” Lucier added. “It’s very frustrating for the people that have to rely on the service that have no other option.”

“The service is just not meeting what their needs are.”

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READ MORE: City council to debate adding dedicated bus route to Regina airport

Councillors John Findura and Jason Mancinelli say they’re interested in the conversation, but the nature of their jobs prevent them from taking part.

Mayor Fougere and six other councillors did not respond to requests for comment, leaving Andrew Stevens as the only one to take on the offer- with a catch.

“This is kind of a two-way street,” Stevens said. “I’m happy to take on this challenge, but I also feel the union that represents the operators needs to be engaged with the community and more outspoken for the expansion of services.”

READ MORE: City of Regina introduces new public transit fares, discounts

Stevens says the transit system has seen great improvement since he moved to the Queen City in 2012, but believes new routes could be a game-changer.

Regina does not have a dedicated route to the airport or Costco- though a feasibility study is in the works.

“Maybe it’s a conversation we have that isn’t just about the frequency. Should it take 45, 55, 65 minutes to get to parts of the city that should really only be accessible in a 20-minute ride?” Stephen said.

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New routes could come with a price tag of up to a million dollars, though Stevens says it could be implemented in the next budget cycle.

But with ridership on the rise, and more major events headed the city’s way, the union hopes to see a boost in manpower and money soon.

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