Regina’s Transit Master Plan receives approval from council

Regina city council has approved the Regina Transit Master Plan.

The plan lays out 45 recommendations to improve transit over the next 25 years at the cost of $90 million. Council approved the plan 9-1, with Councillor Shaw the only one voting against the plan.

The recommendations aim to improve services and expand ridership up to 25 per cent of the City’s population.

Mayor Sandra Masters said that all 45 recommendations will help the City achieve its goals.

“I think every little piece is going to help. What’s really important is as we make some changes, as we change routing, that we continue to monitor and provide that into a bit of a feedback loop to see what’s working and what’s not,” she said. “Then when you are not reaching that goal, or it’s not perhaps trending fast enough, that you continue to adjust to ensure that in 25 years you are at the point that you want to be at.”

Some of the main recommendations that are going to help the City achieve their goals are enhancing service coverage, expanding hours of operation, improving service frequency, and shorter journey times. The City is also looking at extending some main and local routes into new areas as Regina grows, implementing a fare system that includes an automatic fare capping and reduced fare options for passengers who purchase non-cash fares and implementing mobile ticketing and a contactless payment system.

The plan also will remove fares for children up to and including 12 years of age, though a report is set to be presented to council later this year with free fare for those 18 and under being discussed.

As part of the plan, the City is also looking to head toward being renewable by 2050 as they are planning on the bus fleet switching to electric in 2024. They are also looking to establish Transit and Neighbourhood Hubs.

The City will be creating a team of Peace Officers to provide on-street support and respond to security incidents to increase safety.

Masters said some highlights for her are the investment in electric buses and changes in routing

“I think some of the routings is exciting, simply because that accessibility piece for workers for what they need to get to work in a time-efficient manner is enormously important,” she said. “As we are looking at economic opportunities, we need to get folks to work and to their appointments and in an efficient way so that we have labour availability for our businesses.”

As for what residents can expect in the short-term, she said new buses and some expansion of services.

“I think what we are going to see come forward in the next budget cycle is the investment for EV infrastructure for transit, as well as the first EV transit bus for 2024,” she said. “I think some of the routings will be looking at right away, and some of those fares in para-transit and expansion of services into Sundays and extended hours are some of the things you will see in the short-term.”

Masters said the plan is important as it outlines a plan on how to improve transit.

“I think it provides administration and council with the framework moving forward for how to stage investment in improving transit,” she said. “It really helps with that idea as the City continues to grow that we are getting people to where they need to be in an efficient manner, so it’s favourable to ride.”

She added that the plan had been a long-time coming.

Council will still have to approve many of the recommendations.

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