Because that’s what you’ll be doing if you don’t have a car in the Land of the Living Skies after May 31st. That’s the last day the distinctive green wrapped coaches of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company will travel the prairie roads; as the Brad Wall provincial government has decided, in all it’s dubious “wisdom”, to shut down the operations of the publicly operated intercity transit system.
Hear me out through another Western focused post! I kinda do have a soft spot in my heart for that part of the country after my time living there but the shutting down of Canada’s only provincewide public transit system should send chills up the spine of even the most diehard Ontarian.
Think about what this means; the government says to people who do not have (or do not want) cars that their options and very freedom to live their lives do not matter. They will get sacrificed on the alter of the almighty dollar, or rather, the almighty car culture as I guarantee you that any of the projects currently undertaken by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure (the emphasis on highways is sickeningly noticeable) are moving ahead full steam.
Look at those lovely road vistas, unencumbered by pesky buses full of “those people”. Yeah, I know I’m layering it on a big thick and I know that intercity coaches also use highways but come on…..could the naked subsidy for the car be any clearer? Your minivan gets the Regina bypass, those bus riders get stranded. Please, don’t tell me the highway to Swift Current makes money, so why does the bus route running on top of it need to be profitable for the government to keep providing it?
Perhaps the biggest joke of the whole story is the government’s claim that private carriers will take up the slack. Have they ever been to Ontario? Have they attempted to navigate our bad map? Well, maybe not the second option, but our “model” of throwing transportation out completely to the private sector is not something to be proud of. Saskatchewan bus riders can expect private carriers to offer vigorous competition on a route like Regina-Saskatoon but sparse or nonexistent service elsewhere.
I hope that the government reconsiders, as there is already an outcry from transit users……..but I’m not optimistic; Brad Wall is coming fresh off of an election where his Saskatchewan Party (basically the Conservatives) won another majority and besides, bus riders were never his main constituency. Looks like transit riders lose another battle.
PS: Another reason I’m bummed about the loss of the Saskatchewan Transportation is they bothered to make a map! It’s missing some information that Shaun and I consider important, I.E an indication of frequency (as you can see, the route linking Saskatoon and Regina looks exactly the same as the spur between , say, Spy hill and Churchbridge) but as a guide to where buses can take you in Saskatchewan, it does the job.
Look at that map and think “Oh, the places I’d go, if politicians thought my freedom to get around was worth a damn”