Saskatoon Transit celebrates 100% accessible bus fleet
Today, Saskatoon Transit marks a milestone on their journey to provide a fully-accessible public transit system.
Thanks to recent investments, the City’s fleet of various types of buses are now 100% accessible, allowing those with reduced mobility the freedom and independence of using conventional transit.
Starting in 2018 under the Public Transit Infrastructure Fund (PTIF) program, the Government of Canada and the City of Saskatoon each invested $12 million for a total of $24 million toward the purchase of 41 accessible low-floor conventional buses that can either kneel and/or have a ramp, along with nine specialized buses with wheelchair lifts for Access Transit. Within the same time frame, the Government of Saskatchewan’s Transit Assistance for People with Disabilities (TAPD) program also contributed $220,000 toward four additional specialized buses for Access Transit. A total of 54 new buses have been purchased for the City’s fleet, making it completely accessible.
This milestone allows Saskatoon Transit to connect more people to their destinations than ever by using a “Family of Services” approach. This means, Access Transit customers now have more transportation flexibility and spontaneity using conventional transit. The City encourages Access customers to use Transit’s conventional service for all or part of their trips. Transit Travel Training is available for those who may be new or unsure about taking conventional transit.
“Our investments in public transit are allowing people to spend less time commuting and more precious time with their families,” said the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency, on behalf of the Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “I’m proud to see that Saskatoon has transitioned to a fleet of 100% accessible buses, providing barrier-free transit services to ensure that everyone can get where they need to go safely and comfortably.”
“The Government of Saskatchewan commends the City of Saskatoon for reaching this destination. Our government is proud to have played a supportive role on this journey. That was done by contributing $220,000 in provincial funding between 2018 and 2019 toward four additional specialized buses for Access Transit under our Transit Assistance for People with Disabilities program,” said Government Relations Minister Warren Kaeding. “In our new provincial budget, we also increased capital funding for Transit Assistance for People with Disabilities by $250,000. This is a 45% increase from last years’ budget, bringing the program total for 2019-20 to $3.8 million to support eligible applicants across Saskatchewan.”
“We are continually working to improve our service and are extremely proud of reaching this milestone as we work towards a fully accessible transit service. We want all of our customers to have safe, convenient, and affordable transit options,” said Jim McDonald, Director of Saskatoon Transit.
“The Commission commends the City of Saskatoon on the leadership it has provided in making this initiative possible. We will continue to work with all stakeholders to ensure the people of Saskatoon have effective and accessible transit,” said David Arnot, Commissioner of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. “Accessible transportation is a building block for a fair, inclusive, and equitable society. By removing barriers to transportation, we enable access to education and employment, as well as, to the services, opportunities, and benefits of living in a thriving multicultural and pluralistic city like Saskatoon.”
Experience Transit, Saskatoon Transit’s travel training program began as a pilot in mid-2017. The program is personalized, 60-minute training to introduce people to transit and teach them how to use conventional transit services independently. Training is customized to fit an individual’s lifestyle, travel needs and abilities. The program includes:
- Trip planning
- Wayfinding and navigation
- Boarding and exiting
- Requesting accessible features
- Problem solving tips for when unexpected challenges occur
Over the past several years, Saskatoon Transit has implemented internal and external stop announcements as part of their commitment to providing accessible service. A complete bus stop audit will be conducted this summer to review all locations and their accessibility.