New transit service times, new bus in the works

Justin
Justin Crann
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Bus service in Moose Jaw may soon be available earlier in the morning and later in the evening.

Councillors Brian Swanson (right) and Candis Kirkpatrick (left) listen to the details of a group purchase program for buses through SUMA.

“What we’ll 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.,” said Mark Sture, manager of the city’s transit division.

“That gives people an opportunity to take night programs at SIAST, people who have evening jobs can get home after work … it’s a good opportunity for everybody.”

The decision to extend the transit hours isn’t without a drawback, however.

“Unfortunately, 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,” explained Sture. “The evening service will be one-hour service, as well. Unfortunately we can’t offer 30 minute service all day — the budget just isn’t here.”

Sture said the changes were made based on demand and public consultation that included discussions with SIAST staff and the Regional Intersectoral Committee (RIC).

“I met with the RIC a few times and they are very positive about the changes and looking forward to them,” he said. “SIAST is also looking forward to them.”

The new hours, if approved by council as part of executive committee’s minutes next Monday, will be implemented following a period of 60 days notice to the public.

In addition, the city’s 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 — a hitch that caught the eye of Councillor Brian Swanson during the meeting.

“What does SUMA do for its (cut)? … Is it worth $20,000 to let SUMA buy a bus for us?” he asked.

“SUMA is co-ordinating the purchase. … They’re 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’s needs,” said Sture. “Our cost would be roughly $4,500. So the question for council is, is it worth (the price)?”

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’s 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.

You can follow Justin Crann on Twitter.

Organizations: Regional Intersectoral Committee

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