The plan developed by city administration will guide decision making around transit for the next 25 years.
Expanding ridership by 25 percent, increasing transit frequency on all routes, modernizing fare payment and making transit free for youth 12 and under are all goals under the new plan.
After hearing from community delegates, council voted 9-1 in favour of the plan. Councillor Terina Shaw cast the only opposed vote.
“Its been a long time coming. The fact that we didn’t have a transit master plan is significant,” said mayor Sandra Masters.
The creation of the transit master plan involved engaging more than 2,200 residents through workshops and surveys. The plan highlights a goal to expand ridership and have public transit account for one quarter of all trips taken within the city. Currently that number is closer to five per cent.
“It really it helps with the idea that as the city continues to grow, that we’re getting people where they need to be in an efficient manner making it favourable to ride,” said the mayor.
Another goal of the plan is to make transit free for youth 12 and under. That goal has been identified as one of the most quickly implementable Currently, transit is free for children under five. Some delegates at Wednesdays council meeting encouraged the city to do one better and make transit free for all youth 18 and under.
“Not only would free transit would help children all over Regina get to school but it would also help thousands of children in the city live more equitable lives with accessible transportation,” said Sarah Cummings Truszkowski of the Regina School Board.
City administration said they would look into free transit for riders 18 and under, then come back to council with their findings.
Also the plan proposes to expand the number of routes operating on weekends, expanding hours of operation on Sundays and holidays, modernizing fare payment and completely electrifying Regina’s bus fleet by 2039.
As part of that timeline, it suggests the first seven of those EV be purchased and operating in 2024.
All goals and initiatives proposed in the plan are subject to annual approvals through the cities budget process. The city says implementing all of its short-term goals, including increasing route frequency and hours of operation and purchasing the first seven electric buses, would cost around $80 million in total.