New transit rates are transit-great

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author: john loeppky | editor-in-chief

Jingyu Zhang

The City of Regina has announced reduced transit rates, and I believe this will make a tangible difference in the lives of those who use public transit. This includes an affordable access program that lessens costs even further.  

For one person, the barrier for entry to this new transit program is having an income below $23,861 for any calendar year. This allows for a reduction of $17 off of the reduced adult rate of $88 for for a 31-day pass. The City of Regina’s website lays out the reasons for this program.  

“The new Affordable Pass program will assist lower-income residents by partnering with the Community Services’ Affordable Access Program, which provides discounted city recreation and leisure programs to also offer discounted monthly fare passes.” 

Discounted monthly passes of $25are available for those on a number of social security programs, including Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability. Semi-annual passes have been made available, providing a small discount and removing the need to renew every month.  

One-pass rides stay much the same for those with a post-secondary pass, but the net change is a positive for the Regina community. It’s well documented that public transit provides a vital service for those in our community, particularly from marginalized groups, and the environmental impact should also be considered.  

I think the City of Regina’s decision to decrease transit rates should be considered a win for the University of Regina and its UPass program. The creation of a hub of sorts for transit riders at the university has obviously paid dividends. From a purely anecdotal perspective I see more folks riding the bus than ever before in my seven years in the city.  

So, where can the city improve from here? Well, Paratransit issues still abound, particularly when it comes to pick ups and drop offs being on time, drivers still aren’t as educated as they could be in terms of how to handle social situations and confrontation resolution (again, anecdotal), and the city continues to need to expand routes. No public transit system is ever perfect, but considering ours has been lagging behind even Saskatoon’s for a considerable amount of time, I think it’s important to celebrate these successes for what they are: important moves forward.  

This may be a pie in the sky idea, but I hope that this decrease in fees (that was only possible because of increased rider engagement) could hint at a better province-wide transit system. The obliteration of STC left a giant hole in our province, one that our municipal transit systems can never hope to patch all by themselves. Increase engagement shows the need for better transit for all. That our provincial government can’t see that need, probably because they all drive to work and can’t fathom not wanting (or being able) to drive – a reality for a sizeable portion of our population – is a gap in understanding that needs to be filled.  

A previous version of this article stated the cost of a discounted pass $10 instead of $25. $10 is the cost of a family/day pass.

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