Bus service in Moose Jaw may soon be available earlier in the morning and later in the evening.
© Justin Crann
Councillors Brian Swanson (right) and Candis Kirkpatrick (left) listen to the details of a group purchase program for buses through SUMA.
‚ÄúWhat we‚Äôll be doing now is providing service until, roughly, just after 10 p.m. Monday to Friday, and the first buses will be leaving downtown at 6:45 a.m.,‚ÄĚ said Mark Sture, manager of the city‚Äôs transit division.
‚ÄúThat gives people an opportunity to take night programs at SIAST, people who have evening jobs can get home after work ‚Ä¶ it‚Äôs a good opportunity for everybody.‚ÄĚ
The decision to extend the transit hours isn‚Äôt without a drawback, however.
‚ÄúUnfortunately, in order to provide that evening service, we have to cut back to one hour service in the mid-day period. This, typically, is the period when ridership is at its lowest,‚ÄĚ explained Sture. ‚ÄúThe evening service will be one-hour service, as well. Unfortunately we can‚Äôt offer 30 minute service all day ‚ÄĒ the budget just isn‚Äôt here.‚ÄĚ
Sture said the changes were made based on demand and public consultation that included discussions with SIAST staff and the Regional Intersectoral Committee (RIC).
‚ÄúI met with the RIC a few times and they are very positive about the changes and looking forward to them,‚ÄĚ he said. ‚ÄúSIAST is also looking forward to them.‚ÄĚ
The new hours, if approved by council as part of executive committee‚Äôs minutes next Monday, will be implemented following a period of 60 days notice to the public.
In addition, the city‚Äôs transit division put in a request to use an existing $45,000 in equipment reserve funds and an additional $55,000 in provincial money to purchase a new paratransit bus through a group purchase agreement with SUMA.
The purchase price will include a five per cent fee to be paid to SUMA for acting as a middleman in any potential bargain ‚ÄĒ a hitch that caught the eye of Councillor Brian Swanson during the meeting.
‚ÄúWhat does SUMA do for its (cut)? ‚Ä¶ Is it worth $20,000 to let SUMA buy a bus for us?‚ÄĚ he asked.
‚ÄúSUMA is co-ordinating the purchase. ‚Ä¶ They‚Äôre receiving the feedback from the other municipalities and they will actually be the ones in contact with the supplier to negotiate a price based on everybody‚Äôs needs,‚ÄĚ said Sture. ‚ÄúOur cost would be roughly $4,500. So the question for council is, is it worth (the price)?‚ÄĚ
The committee apparently believed so as the request was approved and will be brought up for a final vote of council as part of the committee‚Äôs minutes next Monday.
The new hours will also be up for final approval Monday, and if they are accepted, they will be advertised and implemented after 60 days.
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