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Service, Savings & Sustainability: Impactful achievements despite challenging year

July 19, 2021 - 1:06pm

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July 19, 2021 - 1:00pm

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The City’s 2020 Report on Service, Savings and Sustainability (SSS Report) highlights how teams worked together, and apart, in 2020 to find new and improved ways to deliver services to residents during the pandemic while focusing on finding savings and reducing our impact on the environment.

“I am very proud of our City employees,” says Celene Anger, Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer. “Despite last year’s extraordinary circumstances, including a work-from-home directive impacting about 1,000 staff, they continued to find innovative ways to continue the safe delivery of essential core services to residents, maximize value for taxpayer dollars and minimize costs for the Corporation.”

“Even with the challenges of 2020, the City moved forward on several major projects including the approval of our Official Community Plan and nationally recognized Green Infrastructure Strategy,” Anger adds. “From making the switch to LED streetlights, adding GPS to our City fleet of vehicles, or the innovative ways found to administer the civic election during the pandemic - every efficiency gained and savings achieved are especially important within a year where COVID-19 greatly impacted our civic finances.”

 2020 SSS Report financial highlights include:

  • An estimated $850K in operational savings were identified through a combination of one-time overall and annual savings.
  • Saskatoon Land generated $43.7 million in sales and leasing revenues. Financial returns from Land Development operations stay in Saskatoon and are allocated for use in capital projects that would otherwise be funded through property taxes or borrowing.
  • Grant funding approvals totaled $69.8 million through a combination of federal and provincial programs.

The annual SSS Report provides highlights to City Council and the community at large on the City’s previous year’s accomplishments related to our Strategic Goal of Continuous Improvement through improved service, increased savings and found efficiencies, and successful sustainability initiatives across civic operations.

The 2020 Report on Service, Savings and Sustainability report will be presented to the Governance and Priorities Committee of City Council today, Monday July 19.

Update: City response to Saskatchewan Re-Opening Roadmap, Step 3

July 8, 2021 - 4:42pm

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July 8, 2021 - 4:45pm

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With over 71 percent of eligible residents over the age of 12 having received their first COVID-19 vaccination, and 49 percent eligible residents over the age of 12 being fully vaccinated, the Government of Saskatchewan announced the full implementation of Step 3 of the Re-Opening Roadmap will occur on Sunday, July 11th.

This means that all Provincial Public Health Orders will be removed, including the province-wide mandatory mask order in public and the removal of limits on events and gathering sizes.

“The lifting of Public Health Orders is an exciting time in our City. In the next few weeks there will be many adjustments and I encourage residents to continue to be patient and kind with each other and City staff as we all move forward together again," says Pamela Goulden-McLeod, Director of Emergency Management Organization.

The City’s approach to recovery will be phased and methodical. Important work continues within many City departments as there are many programs and services that are being reviewed prior to full resumption.

“COVID-19 created many challenges for our staff and the residents of Saskatoon. Thank you to our staff and our residents for all their work since March 2020 to help keep our community safe. We appreciate the patience and kindness residents have shown when accessing City services.”

The City will follow the direction of the Provincial Government and the Re-Opening Roadmap. As of July 11th, we will:

  • Remove the requirement to wear masks
  • Remove the requirement to physically distance
  • Continue to use barriers
  • Continue the current increased cleaning

Staff, facility visitors and patrons are welcome to continue to wear masks if they choose and physically distance where possible.

Return of Staff to the Workplace

As noted last month, the City is preparing to return roughly 30% of its staff – who have been working at home since the onset of the pandemic – back to the workplace by September 1.

Some City teams have already determined there is still a requirement for masks or physical distancing for some tasks or meetings, including those who work in critical services, or for those who enter residences and other businesses.

Additional measures may be re-introduced to protect staff from the transmission of COVID-19 in the workplace. Department Directors will work with City Health and Safety staff to complete assessments as needed.

Until Sunday, July 11, when visiting an indoor civic facility such as a Leisure Centre, City Hall, Transit Customer Service, and while riding a Saskatoon Transit bus, protocols must still be followed by all staff and customers including those who have received a COVID-19 vaccination. This includes wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance.

Throughout the summer, any remaining outdoor and facility signage indicating mask wearing and/or physical distancing will be addressed by City crews. 

Saskatoon Transit 

Physical distancing will no longer be promoted at shelters or on the bus. All transit vehicles will operate at full standing capacity.

Operators and customers will not be required to wear a mask when operating or riding the bus nor will they be required in the Transit Customer Service Centre. Masks will be optional for both customers and operators.

Operators will be encouraged to continue to use the vinyl barriers for continued safety; however, they will not be required.

The health and safety of employees and customers remain a number one priority and enhanced cleaning protocols will continue, including the fogging of buses each night.

City Hall 

The Payment Centre, Customer Service & Collections counters located in the lobby of City Hall continue to be open for in-person transactions. Plexiglass shields will remain in place at Corporate Revenue Customer Service wickets.

Additional customer services previously available on other floors of City Hall may be available from the lobby starting September 1. Access to the remainder of City Hall will be reviewed along with cafeteria services on the fourth floor. 

Residents and customers are still encouraged to continue to use convenient online services.  

Announced earlier, City Council meetings will resume in Chambers this September. Watch for more details on upcoming in-person meetings as they are announced.

Leisure Facilities & Programs

Leisure Centres and seasonal facilities and attractions will be preparing to increase regular programming in the Fall. Details will be available on the City’s website, social media channels, and in the seasonal Leisure Guide. The Leisure Guide will be available starting Friday, August 6 on saskatoon.ca/leisureguide or at any leisure facility, library or over 120 retail locations where the StarPhoenix is sold.

Specific information regarding upcoming swimming lessons and other registered programming over the summer will be shared with registrants over the next week.

Drop-in program capacity will increase starting Sunday, July 11.

Saskatoon Forestry Farm & Zoo

Most areas of the zoo will be open without restrictions and the one-way path will be removed. The Meerkat display is now open; however, the Children's Zoo will remain closed at this time.  The Affinity Learning Centre is closed for construction.

Public Pathways & Pedestrian Crosswalks

Pedestrian bridge crossings, walkways, overpasses and underpasses will return to two-way traffic and the temporary signs will be removed over the next few weeks. 

At traffic signals, the signs advising pedestrians they don't need to push the buttons to receive walk signals will be removed over the next few weeks.

Waste & Recycling

Plastic/acrylic COVID-19 barriers being used in various business and public spaces are not accepted in the City's recycling program. While this material does fall under #7 plastics, it is not marketable; therefore it is considered garbage. Flexible plastic sheets or screens are also considered garbage.

If you choose to remove your barriers, anything larger than 2 ft x 2 ft must be taken to the landfill or reused for alternative purposes. Items placed outside of carts or bins will not be collected and are considered illegal dumping with fines starting at $500.

Plexiglas barriers can be donated to Prairie Harm Reduction: operations@prairiehr.ca; or International Women of Saskatoon: operations.systems@iwssaskatoon.org.

Facemasks, gloves, and other PPE material are also not accepted in the recycling and should be safely and securely discarded in the garbage.

Impound Lot

As of July 11, normal hours of operation at the impound lot will resume, which are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m Monday to Friday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Members of the public may drop in at any time during these hours of operation; appointments will no longer be required.

Public Engagement

In-person forms of public engagement, such as meetings and open houses, will be restored over the course of the year. Efforts will be made for in-person engagements to feel safe and comfortable for both attendees and staff. Virtual forms of engagement, such as online public surveys and online meetings, will continue to be offered to accommodate those who prefer providing their input this way. Currently scheduled virtual engagements will continue as planned.

City of Saskatoon Bylaw Court

The City of Saskatoon Bylaw Docket Court will be re-opening on Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Confirm your new FIRST APPEARANCE adjourned date here.

Visit saskatoon.ca/bylaws for more information.

Watch for more information and announcements regarding programs and services at saskatoon.ca.

Civic Services & Holiday Hours Thursday, July 1

June 28, 2021 - 6:35pm

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June 28, 2021 - 6:30pm

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The City of Saskatoon will have a number of adjusted civic services and altered holiday hours over the July 1, statutory holiday. Wondering what’s open or closed. See full details on the City’s website.

Please visit saskatoon.ca/covid-19 for timely updates from the City of Saskatoon on everything you need to know to stay safe.

Hot Weather Alert 3A activated

June 28, 2021 - 11:49am

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June 28, 2021 - 11:45am

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In response to the high temperature and humidity this week, the Emergency Management Organization (EMO) has activated the Saskatoon Heat Response Strategy to support residents in Saskatoon, especially those vulnerable to the heat.

EMO is a member of the Heat Response Committee established by the Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP). A variety of community partners rally to provide support to individuals and families experiencing homelessness through the heat response strategy. A Hot Weather Alert Level 3A (Heat Warning) is issued by SHIP when temperatures reach 32°C or greater.

Individuals and families experiencing homelessness can visit any of the designated cool-down locations throughout the city. Partners in the Saskatoon Heath Strategy are also distributing water to vulnerable residents.

EMO encourages residents to stay safe during this heat. Residents can help those most vulnerable to this extreme and prolonged heat by sharing the list of cool down locations, checking on family, friends and neighbours and by alerting emergency services if you see someone in distress due to the extreme heat.

Other things to consider during days of extreme heat: 

River Safety

Although the South Saskatchewan River may provide a tempting option to cool down on hot days, EMO reminds residents that the river is unpredictable and swimming in the river is prohibited. The river has many hazards including changing currents and an unstable bottom.

Pet Wellness

On warm summer days, it’s important to keep your pets safe and comfortable. Considerations include:

  • Ensuring your pet has plenty of fresh water to drink
  • Monitoring your pet for signs of heat stress such as rapid panting
  • Never leaving pets in parked cars for any amount of time
  • Offering your pet a means to cool down such as a wading pool or damp towel

For more information on how to keep your pet safe this summer, contact the SPCA or your local veterinarian.

Working Safe

As the humidex rises, those who work outdoors are encouraged to take necessary actions including:

  • Drink extra water
  • Increase breaks out of the sun
  • Modify work duties to prevent heat illness

For safety tips and guidelines for employees working in hot conditions, visit the Government of Saskatchewan’s Working Outdoors page.

Transit Safe Bus Program

As always, Saskatoon Transit offers the Safe Bus Program designed to assist anyone, of any age, that needs immediate shelter or needs to contact emergency services. If you need help, simply and safely flag down a bus or go to a parked bus. Transit operators can contact emergency services directly through the on-bus radio system and will give the person in need a safe place to wait.

Smart Yard and Garden Watering

During heat waves, there is increased water usage. The City encourages residents to be water wise by watering your lawn and trees early in the morning and skip windy days to minimize evaporation. Smart watering helps the environment and can save you money during hot summer months. Follow these quick lawn care tips to be more efficient with your water and learn more ways to be water wise.

In an emergency, call 911 immediately.

Saskatoon Transit service adjustments – effective June 27, 2021

June 24, 2021 - 1:03pm

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June 24, 2021 - 1:00pm

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Starting Sunday, June 27, 2021, several adjustments will be made to Saskatoon Transit route frequencies.  

Transit customers are encouraged to learn about the route changes by going to the website, calling the Transit Customer Service Centre at 306-975-3100 or using the Transit app to plan their trip. A summary of the affected routes will also be available on postcards at the Customer Service Centre in the downtown terminal. 

Riders are encouraged to plan their trip in advance and review the updated schedules before travelling. Also, riders are encouraged to mark the routes they use the most as a favourite in the transit app to get push notifications of service alerts. 

For more information about Saskatoon Transit, visit SaskatoonTransit.ca or follow @StoonTransit on Twitter. Plan your route in advance using the real-time mobile app Transit or using Google Maps Transit on your desktop computer. 

City prepares gradual response to Saskatchewan Re-Opening Roadmap, Step 3

June 24, 2021 - 9:21am

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June 24, 2021 - 9:15am

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With the Government of Saskatchewan’s recent announcement that Step 3 of the Re-Opening Roadmap will begin on July 11, the City continues the process of planning and preparing for a gradual and full resumption of the remaining impacted programs and services.  

The City’s approach to recovery will be phased and methodical to keep employees safe so they can continue to deliver programs and services to residents. Important work is well underway within many City departments as there are many programs and services that are being reviewed prior to full resumption. 

Return of Staff to the Workplace 

Preparations include the return of staff to the workplace who have been working at home since the onset of the pandemic, by September 1. As staff return, the City will be following the direction from the Government of Saskatchewan and Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety to meet our duty under the Occupational Health & Safety Act. 

Masks and Physical Distancing – Civic Facilities and Public Outdoor Spaces 

Masking and physical distancing requirements during the transition period will be guided by applicable Government of Saskatchewan directives at the time. Masks are always welcome to be worn, with a reminder they must be removed when participating in aquatic activities in Leisure Centres.  

Until July 11, when visiting an indoor civic facility such as a Leisure Centre, City Hall, Transit Customer Service, and while riding a bus, protocols must still be followed by all staff and customers including those who have received a COVID-19 vaccination. This includes wearing a mask and maintaining physical distance. 

Throughout the summer, any remaining outdoor and facility signage indicating mask wearing and/or physical distancing will be addressed by City crews.  

Saskatoon Transit  

Saskatoon Transit is reviewing all options and consulting various regulations and practices across Canada. Information will be shared on saskatoontransit.ca as it becomes available. Operator vinyl barriers will remain on buses and the number of riders will be monitored as we transition to full standing loads in July. 

City Hall  

The Payment Centre, Customer Service & Collections counters located in the lobby of City Hall continue to be open for in-person transactions. Additional customer services, previously available on other floors of City Hall, may be available from the lobby starting September 1. Access to the remainder of City Hall will be reviewed along with cafeteria services on the fourth floor.  

Residents and customers are still encouraged to continue to use convenient online services.   

Announced earlier, City Council meetings will resume in Chambers this September. Watch for more details on upcoming in-person meetings as they are announced. 

Leisure Facilities & Programs 

Leisure Centres and seasonal facilities and attractions will be preparing to increase regular programming in the Fall. Details will be available on the City’s website and social media channels, and in the seasonal Leisure Guide, available starting Friday, August 6 on saskatoon.ca/leisureguide or to pick up at any at leisure facility, library or over 120 retail locations where the StarPhoenix is sold. 

Watch for more information and announcements regarding programs and services at saskatoon.ca

City to Lower Flags to Half-Mast to Recognize National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism

June 22, 2021 - 4:07pm

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June 22, 2021 - 4:00pm

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The National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism is on Wednesday, June 23, 2021.  In recognition, flags at all City of Saskatoon facilities will fly at half-mast for the day.

Recognized every year in Canada on June 23, the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism marks the anniversary of the Air India Flight 182 bombing which happened off the coast of Ireland.  Flags across Canada are flown at half-mast to honour the victims of the bombing, as well as other acts of terrorist violence that have taken the lives of Canadians.

Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action inspire new Transit shelter

June 22, 2021 - 1:04pm

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June 22, 2021 - 1:00pm

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Saskatoon Transit and students from the E.D. Feehan Newcomer Youth Engagement Program (NYEP) and the miyo mâcihowin program met with Métis Elder Nora Cummings, First Nations Elder Harry Lafond, and Newcomer Community Leader, Senos Timon to create and design a bus shelter on the north side of Rusholme Road, west of Avenue M by their school.  

“There are many ways we can respond as a city to the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action.” says Mayor Charlie Clark. “This project built a partnership between Saskatoon Transit, E.D. Feehan students and staff, and Indigenous elders and newcomer community leaders in creating this beautiful new bus shelter for the Westmount Neighbourhood. Thank you to everyone involved for the extra effort you put in through COVID to get the project done, congratulations!”   

Following the success of the collaborations with students at Aden Bowman Collegiate on a Métis inspired bus shelter, and students at Nutana Collegiate on a First Nations inspired shelter, Saskatoon Transit wanted to work on another Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action, #93. This call-to-action calls to revise the information kit for newcomers to Canada to reflect a more inclusive history of the diverse Aboriginal people of Canada.  

The students from the NYEP and miyo mâcihowin program reflected on Elder Cummings and Lafond’s teachings with inspiration from Newcomer Community Leader Senos Timon to create this piece of art. One of the themes that continued to pop up was the idea that we are all different and should be proud of that, and remember who we are and reach out to one another.  

“This shelter is yet another example of building bridges of cross-cultural awareness,” says Jim McDonald, Director of Saskatoon Transit. “It is and will remain a physical reminder of the commitment the City has made on answering the Calls to Action.”   

The student’s artwork, inspired by First Nations and Métis Elders and Newcomer Community Leader were put together by Muveddet Al-Katib, an immigrant artist working with the NYEP as an art educator and was then laser cut by Metal Shapes Manufacturing.  

“I want to congratulate these young people on this project. It is a legacy they will leave not only for themselves, but for generations to come.” Cummings says. “This project helped to unify our youth, showed them how to work together. They did a wonderful job and will look back on this experience and remember the friendships made working together.” 

“The Creator gives to each of us the creative spirit to create beauty through the lens of our cultures,” Lafond says.  “The bus stop at E.D. Feehan High School captures the spirit of many cultures to show the growing diversity of our beautiful city. I hope this helps us understand the importance of these projects to our identity as a community of many peoples.”   

“Arts bring people together; it inspires and unifies our communities regardless of age, race, and ethnicity, and it gives hope and reminds us that we are not alone,” says Senos Timon. “This project is a perfect example of how arts can be a vehicle to build bridges.” 

"Students really benefited from meeting with and talking to the elders,” says Mike Stone, NYEP teacher. “It reinforced for students the value of listening to and learning from the stories of those that came before us. The process also helped illustrate to the students that even across differing cultures, there are more similarities than differences that exist between us."  

The idea behind Saskatoon Transit’s Bus Shelter Art Project is to comply with the Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action #79; calling upon the government, Aboriginal organizations and the arts community, to develop a reconciliation framework for Canadian heritage and commemoration, including integrating Indigenous history, heritage values and memory practices into Canada’s history.  

Rock Your Roots for Indigenous Peoples Day

June 21, 2021 - 8:51am

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June 21, 2021 - 8:45am

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June 21st has been recognized annually as National Indigenous Peoples Day (formerly National Aboriginal Day) since 1996. For generations, many Indigenous communities have celebrated their culture and heritage on or near this day due to the significance of the Summer Solstice as the longest day of the year.

This is a day to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding contributions of Indigenous people.

The City of Saskatoon, in its role as Co-Chair of Reconciliation Saskatoon, has helped organize the Rock Your Roots Walk for Reconciliation. Participants answer the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's Calls to Action by promoting reconciliation, honouring Residential School Survivors, and working to make Saskatoon a more inclusive community.

How to participate:

  • Visit beaconnectr.com/june21 to catch stories, entertainment, and messages from those walking.
  • Plan a walk by yourself or with a few others and spend some time thinking Survivors and how you can engage in reconciliation.
  • Showcase your support publicly and, during your walk, wear your cultural regalia or the reconciliation colours of yellow, red, and blue.
  • Take a ‘walk selfie’ and share to social media with the hashtag #RockYourRoots.

The Rock Your Roots Walk has been an annual event in Saskatoon since 2016, attracting thousands of people for a walk along Saskatoon’s riverbank. The event was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID and has been re-imagined this year to keep participants safe.

Saskatoon Transit, Masabi and Transit app launch new TGo Fare Payment System

June 15, 2021 - 6:56am

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June 15, 2021 - 7:00am

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Today, Saskatoon Transit announces the launch of the first phase of its new fare payment system, in partnership with Masabi, the company bringing Fare Payments-as-a-Service (FPaaS) to public transit and the Transit app. Riders can now purchase mobile fares anytime, anywhere, using either the new TGo app or the Transit app.  

With Transit, Saskatoon Transit’s recommended trip planning app, Saskatoon riders now have access to an all-in-one experience that combines mobile ticketing using Masabi’s Justride SDK with trip planning, real-time tracking, service alerts and connections to first mile/last-mile services. 

Masabi has installed 140 validation units, running its Justride Inspect software, across the agency’s entire fixed-route bus network with another 30 handheld units at Access Transit. Passengers simply scan their phone or printed ticket, available online (SaskatoonTransit.ca/TGo) when boarding, which scans their pass and identifies the ticket as valid for use.  

“This launch means our fare collection system is now at the very cutting edge of what’s available globally and will continue to evolve adding new features as they are added to the platform” said Jim McDonald, Director of Saskatoon Transit. “We’re delighted to be working with Masabi and Transit to make taking the bus quick and simple, while also making fare purchases more convenient.”  

“With this launch, Saskatoon Transit is leading the way for innovation while providing their riders with a contactless and safe way to pay. More and more cities globally are turning to Fare-Payments-as-a-Service as it delivers the best features, greatest passenger experience and increased efficiency for agencies and their staff,” said Brian Zanghi, CEO of Masabi. “This level of functionality and convenience previously took years to develop and deploy and would have been out of reach to all, but the largest agencies. Today, we can deliver market-leading technology to forward-thinking cities by providing FPaaS in a fraction of the time and at a fraction of the cost.” 

“We make riding public transit as simple and stress-free as possible,” said David Block-Schachter, Chief Business Officer at Transit. “Saskatoon passengers already rely on Transit to plan their next trip and track their ride in real time. By integrating TGo mobile ticketing into Transit, Saskatoon Transit is giving riders everything they need in one place.”  

The TGo and Transit apps are both available to download from Google Play and the App Store. Visit Saskatoon Transit’s website for more details.   

About Saskatoon Transit 

Saskatoon Transit is a division within the City’s Transportation & Construction Department and pre-pandemic served nearly a million rides each month. With 40 routes and over 1600 bus stops, Saskatoon Transit serves all corners of Saskatoon providing an eco-friendly and safe alternative transportation for residents. www.saskatoontransit.ca

About Masabi 

Masabi is bringing Fare Payments-as-a-Service — a better way of delivering fare payments — to public transit agencies and authorities of all sizes around the globe. This enables the delivery of the latest fare payment innovations quickly, using a platform which is constantly updating and adding new features. Not only does this improve the journey experience for passengers, but it helps agencies keep up with the pace of technology change, while reducing the total cost of fare collection. Justride, named Ticketing Technology of the Year 2019 and 2020, is used by more than 100 public transit agencies and operators of all sizes across 10 countries. Masabi has offices in New York, Denver, London, and Cluj, and investors include Mastercard, Shell, and Keolis. For more information, visit www.masabi.com. 

About Transit 

Transit solves the urban commute in more than 300 cities worldwide. Users can easily navigate public transit with accurate real-time predictions, simple trip planning, step-by-step navigation, and quick, easy payments. The app also integrates additional transport modes — bikesharing, scooters, carsharing and ridehail — so users can mix-and-match their options with public transit to determine the best way to get from A to B. The company is based in Montréal, QC. Learn more by visiting www.transitapp.com

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