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Electric bus charges into service: test aims to lower fuel bills and greenhouse gasses

July 21, 2020 - 12:13pm

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July 21, 2020 - 12:15pm

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Saskatoon Transit is proud to announce it will be testing an electric bus over the next year as part of the public transport fleet. This initiative supports elements of the Official Community Plan and the City of Saskatoon’s Strategic Plan goals of Environmental Leadership and Moving Around.  

The total project cost is estimated to be $533,600 of which $234,300 is funded from the Green Municipal Fund (GMF), a fund financed by the Government of Canada and administered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). 

Today’s announcement also reaches a milestone in Saskatoon’s Low Emission Community Plan, which prescribes the municipal transit fleet be 100% electric by 2030. The electric bus project’s net carbon emissions reduction is expected to be 50.3 tonnes of CO2 per bus, per year (this number accounts for the bus and the electrical grid’s emissions-intensity factors) and saves approximately $27,500 in fuel costs per bus, per year.   

This project will include a strong focus on how an electric bus will perform in Saskatchewan’s very cold winter weather, which will be of interest to many other Canadian communities with longer, colder winters like ours. Also, Saskatoon Transit’s collaboration on this project with the Saskatchewan Research Council will be valuable to replicate it and share that knowledge across the province. 

Quick facts: 

  • The electric bus can be charged in approximately 5 hours 
  • One bus is expected to reduce 50.3 tonnes of CO2 per year (this number accounts for the bus and the electrical grid’s emissions intensity factors) and save ~$27,500 in fuel costs per year compared to a conventional diesel bus
  •  This electric bus pilot initiates one of the 40 actions in the Saskatoon’s Low Emission Community Plan for the municipal transit fleet to be 100% electric by 2030. The City will also start testing electric vehicles later this year as part of another transportation action to electrify the entire municipal fleet 
  • The electric bus unit number will be 1948, representing the year the first 8 electric buses hit the streets of Saskatoon 

Benefits: 

  • Improved air quality at transit terminals, and along bus routes will improve public health 
  • Less noise pollution along bus routes will improve the community’s quality of life 
  • Lower operation and maintenance costs  
  • Offering a modern transit system will help to increase transit ridership 

Quotations: 
“We’re investing in the future. This electric bus pilot project will give the people of Saskatoon a practical and environmentally friendly option for their everyday commute. Canada’s Infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across Canada and builds stronger communities.” The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities 

“Zero emissions vehicles are part of Canada’s net-zero future. Our government is working to give Canadians greener options to get where they need to go.” The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources 

“This is a great step towards the further expansion of zero-emission technology in Saskatoon. The world of transportation is changing rapidly and we need to adapt and implement these new technologies to be ready. This will also help us make important strides in meeting our long-term sustainability goals.” City of Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark 

Local governments are Canada’s builders. They own nearly two thirds of the public infrastructure that supports Canada’s economy and quality of life. Whether it’s through better transit, fewer greenhouse gas emissions, or stronger local infrastructure, municipalities like Saskatoon are building better lives for Canadians. Supported by our strong federal-municipal partnership, FCM’s Green Municipal fund helps municipalities do what they do best: deliver solutions that work.” Darren Hill, FCM Third Vice-President and Councillor, City of Saskatoon 

"Buses already help tackle climate change by providing a way to get around other than in cars or trucks. With more people taking transit in Saskatoon, electric buses will make a real difference. This pilot helps Saskatoon Transit achieve our goal of replacing 10 conventional buses with electric buses per year, creating an all-electric fleet within the next 10 years." Jim McDonald, Director of Saskatoon Transit. 

Civic Services & Holiday Hours for Canada Day, Wednesday, July 1

June 29, 2020 - 1:06pm

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June 29, 2020 - 1:00pm

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Due to COVID-19 physical distancing requirements and the current phase of the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan, the City of Saskatoon already has a number of adjusted services in place. 

On Canada Day, Wednesday, July 1, 2020, there are several statutory holiday service adjustments. 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.

Happy Canada Saskatoon residents.

Household Hazardous Waste Drop-off season begins Sunday, June 7

June 2, 2020 - 12:22pm

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June 2, 2020 - 12:15pm

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The City of Saskatoon and GFL Environmental Inc. are set to host the first Household Hazardous Waste (HHW) Drop-off Day of the season.

  • Location: Civic Operations Centre (57 Valley Road) 
  • Date & Time: Sunday, June 7 (9:00 am - 3:30 pm)
  • Open to Saskatoon residents only; no commercial loads will be accepted. For disposal/recycling of hazardous wastes from non-residential sources, please contact GFL Environmental Inc. at 306-244-9500.
  • Residents can avoid potentially long line-ups by visiting saskatoon.ca/wastewizard to find other means of recycling and safe disposal.

​Common HHW materials include aerosols, automotive fluids, batteries, cleaners, cylinders, light bulbs, medications, yard chemicals, vaping products, and more. These and many other types of hazardous materials require safe disposal and should not be put in your garbage or recycling containers, dumped on the ground, or poured down the drain.

A list of acceptable materials and information on future events can be found at saskatoon.ca/hazardouswaste.

COVID-19 Response:

All necessary health and safety measures are in place to protect residents and event staff in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. GFL staff will be equipped with proper Personal Protective Equipment and spraying/sanitizing their gloves between each vehicle interaction. In an effort to help further reduce cross-contamination, the following guidelines and restrictions will be in place:

  • Only bring acceptable HHW material to the event. Garbage, recyclables, and electronics will be returned to program participants.
  • Maximum of 40 litres of used oil will be accepted per vehicle.
  • Bring fuel and oil in containers that may be left behind for recycling/disposal.
  • HHW material should be safely sealed in clearly marked containers and placed in the back of your vehicle. Containers will not be returned once handled by event staff.
  • Railway ties will not be accepted at HHW events; contact GFL directly for disposal arrangements.
  • Do not attend the event if you are sick.
  • Residents must remain in their vehicles at all times.

The City will communicate any necessary updates to future events as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.

Saskatoon Transit to resume fare collection: to align with Re-Open SK Phase 3

May 27, 2020 - 5:19pm

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May 27, 2020 - 5:15pm

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As the province and our community move toward re-opening amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Saskatoon Transit will resume loading passengers and collecting fares at the front doors starting June 8, 2020.  

"Our team will always keep the safety of our customers and employees at the forefront of everything we do, which is why we went to rear door boarding and suspended fare collection.” says Jim McDonald, Director, Saskatoon Transit. Saskatoon Transit is proud to provide transportation services our customers can rely on as we move into Phase Three of the Re-Open Saskatchewan Plan."   

New measures:  

  • Front door loading and fare collection will resume effective June 8, 2020.   
  • Vinyl panels are being installed as protective barriers for operators. Operators have also been issued gloves and re-useable masks for protection of themselves and riders. 
  • One-way passenger flow: boarding through the front and exiting through the rear doors of the bus. 
    • Exceptions will be made for customers with mobility aids to exit through the front of the bus.   
  • Transit riders are encouraged to follow the recommendations for using face masks or face coverings on buses and at bus stops. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends wearing a non-medical mask where physical distancing is not possible or is unpredictable. 
  •  Saskatoon Transit will continue to monitor capacity on buses, and customers may experience pass-ups. 
    • Riders are encouraged to use the mobile app called transit to check the schedules in advance and attempt to travel at non-peak times as much as possible.
        

Following the guidance of the Chief Medical Health Officer and drawing on the best practices of the transit industry worldwide, Saskatoon Transit has implemented additional safety measures. We’ll also continue with many of the procedures and practices already at work to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic,” McDonald says.   

Measures already in place that will continue:  

  • Enhanced bus cleaning and sanitizing   
  • Additional personal protective equipment for Access Transit operators   
  • Communication to staff and riders encouraging good personal hygiene 
  • Rear door loading with no fare collection until June 7, 2020  

As restrictions begin to lift and people gradually return to some activities they did prior to March 2020, Saskatoon Transit wants to ensure everyone gets where they need to be as safely and efficiently as possible.   

For more information, visit SaskatoonTranist.ca or call 306-975-3100. 

COVID-19: Daily update on changes to programs and services – May 19, 2020

May 19, 2020 - 4:56pm

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May 19, 2020 - 5:00pm

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The City is doing its part to flatten the curve of COVID-19 cases in Saskatoon. We have made many staffing and service changes so our employees can safely deliver services to residents and to make sure people remain physically apart from one another. This way we can all work together by staying apart – it will protect the health of essential frontline healthcare staff, core service workers and first-responders. These actions in turn protect all of us. 

Saskatoon Transit LIMITED RIDER CAPACITY  

The number of riders able to board buses has been reduced to enable physical distancing while seated or moving to the door. When a bus is full, it will display “Full Bus” and pass by those waiting until passengers are dropped off. Riders are asked to follow physical distancing measures and provide the operator and each other space. Onboard announcements may be made throughout the trip to remind riders of these measures.  

Service 
In order to maintain physical distancing measures and the flexibility to increase frequency on routes experiencing higher demand, Saskatoon Transit has reduced Monday to Friday service to the regular Saturday service schedule.  Redeploying peak hour, university and school services has provided the additional buses to allow these changes.     

Face coverings recommended  

Public health authorities have recommended the wearing of face coverings as a measure to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Saskatoon Transit encourages those using public transit to wear face coverings, riders may notice operators wearing masks as well.  

Access Transit 

Operators may provide masks and hand sanitizer for riders to use. There is a limit of 2 passengers per bus and routing is as direct as possible.   

Real-time updates  

To help riders plan their journey and receive real-time service updates, Saskatoon Transit encourages passengers to use the real-time mobile app, Transit.  

Please avoid using public transit:   

  • If under mandatory isolation  
  • If taking the bus is not essential  
  • If you are sick (fever, new or worsening cough, difficulty breathing) 

Please visit saskatoon.ca/covid19 for timely updates from the City of Saskatoon on everything you need to know to stay safe. 

Saskatoon Transit & Food Bank team up to help hungry

April 17, 2020 - 8:14am

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April 17, 2020 - 7:15am

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The Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre together with Saskatoon Transit are working to deliver emergency food hampers to those who need it most. In the wake of the COVID-19 crisis, twice a week, on Monday and Wednesday, Access Transit will deliver food hampers to people experiencing a variety of urgent and complex circumstances that interfere with their access to emergency food.  

With excess capacity at Access Transit during this time, we felt we could help,” says Tracey Loewen, Access Transit Manager. Loewen says her team reached out to Deborah Hamp, Director of Operations and Engagement with the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre. Following a few conversations about what would be required, it all came together quickly. 

The impact of COVID-19, Hamp says, highlights the stark realities imposed by poverty. “The impact of COVID-19 and the uncertainties that lie ahead really demonstrate how quickly things can change for anyone.”   Hamp adds when complex circumstances are thrown into the mix, they make people even more vulnerable to being unable to access a basic human need.  “The bottom line is that people need food to survive, and due to this extraordinary crisis, that need is going to increase,” she says. “We are happy to welcome Access Transit to a growing list of companies that are stepping in to get the job done for the most at-risk members of communities in Saskatoon.” 

Access Transit will help with deliveries as long as needed using the extra service time it has available. Three conditions must be met:  

  • driver safety is not compromised
  • essential service to Access Transit customers is not affected 
  • additional resources will not be required  

Helping with these food deliveries will not jeopardize the service we continue to provide to the public nor will we put our staff at any risk,” Loewen stresses. “Our operators will follow all safety protocols, keep their vehicles clean, and of course, practice appropriate physical distancing.”  

The emergency food hampers will be made at the Saskatoon Food Bank and Learning Centre and Access Transit will pick them up to take them wherever they need to go. 

Assault involving Transit bus Monday evening

April 14, 2020 - 12:30pm

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April 14, 2020 - 12:30pm

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Saskatoon Transit is cooperating with a police investigation following a stabbing incident in and around a Transit bus last night.

“We applaud the quick actions of our Operator and grateful that they are safe,” says Director of Saskatoon Transit, Jim McDonald. “Fortunately, incidents like this involving a Transit bus are very rare and our service remains a very safe way to get around.”

Two people, male and female were already on the bus when another male and female got on at Appleby Drive. The four riders were the only passengers on the bus.

A short time later at Avenue T and 20th Street, a fight broke out between the two groups. The Operator called emergency; stopped the bus and opened the rear doors allowing the passengers to get out. A man appeared to have been stabbed to his chest area and a woman was cut on the face. 

The injured people got back on the bus until paramedics arrived. Ambulance staff took a man and woman to hospital for further treatment.

“We again ask everyone to please only take Transit when necessary – that is, to go to work, get groceries, medicine or for medical appointments not related to COVID-19 symptoms,” McDonald says. “Our buses are running to get medical staff, first responders and other essential workers where they need to go so they can help the rest of us.” 

McDonald adds that avoiding unneeded trips provides Operators and necessary travellers the physical space they need for a safe ride.

The Operator was not involved and is safe; anytime following a serious incident, employees are removed from their shifts and offered counselling and other supports.

Once police were finished their investigation on the bus, it was sent for an established deep cleaning procedure any time bodily fluids are present on a bus.

Police have requested the on-board security video. There is no word on arrests, Public Health Order violations or criminal charges.

Good Friday and Easter Monday service adjustments

April 9, 2020 - 8:28am

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April 9, 2020 - 8:30am

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Due to COVID-19 physical distancing requirements, the City of Saskatoon already has a number of adjusted services in place. On Good Friday, April 10 and Easter Monday, April 13, there are a number of holiday service adjustments. 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.

COVID-19: Transit, bridge walkway updates; zoo pass sales suspended

March 31, 2020 - 5:44pm

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March 31, 2020 - 5:45pm

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We are constantly reassessing developments to ensure the safety and well-being of staff and citizens, and how the City delivers public services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saskatoon Transit updates

As an added level of safety, mid-route bus cleaning has started during the day in the downtown terminal. Passengers will be required to exit the bus while all hard surfaces are wiped down.

Starting Thursday, April 2, Saskatoon Transit will not be entering the University of Saskatchewan campus until further notice. This applies to the transit stop in front of Place Riel. Visit saskatoontransit.ca for up-to-date information on off-campus routes, and pickup and drop-off locations around College Drive.

Residents are reminded to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and avoid non-essential travel. To avoid crowded buses, please consider travelling during off-peak times. Always maintain about a two-arms-length or 2-metre distance from other riders.

Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge Walkway Closed; University Bridge Walkways Open to One-way Pedestrian Traffic

In addition to the changes previously announced to the Traffic Bridge walkways and the CP Pedestrian Bridge, the Senator Sid Buckwold Bridge walkway is now closed and the University Bridge walkways are now for one-way pedestrian traffic (one-side westbound and one-side eastbound). This will allow the practice of social/physical distancing of at least 2-metres (six feet) from others.

The City continues to review other bridge walkway and pedestrian overpasses, underpasses and tunnels. Crews will be posting signage on many of the pathways to remind people to respect social/physical distancing.

Zoo Season Pass Sales Temporarily Suspended

All 2020 Season Pass sales are temporarily suspended until further notice. Season Pass rates for 2020 will be re-evaluated once an opening date is determined. Refunds/credits will be available to customers who have already purchased a 2020 Zoo Season Pass. Details on the refund process will be available soon.

Thank you, Saskatoon for doing your part and maintaining physical distance to keep everyone safe.

Updates will continue to be provided at saskatoon.ca/covid-19

COVID-19: Changes to staffing, programs & services

March 24, 2020 - 3:19pm

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March 24, 2020 - 3:15pm

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We are constantly reassessing pandemic developments to ensure the safety and well-being of staff and citizens. We have also continued to reassess the way we deliver public services following the decision to close City Hall and civic facilities.

“We have made the difficult decision to lay off a number of casual staff,” says City Manager Jeff Jorgenson. “Going forward there will be no scheduled hours. From our perspective, layoffs are an important step to enable staff, without any scheduled hours, the ability to access options such as employment insurance benefits as soon as possible.

“It gives the people affected some certainty as opposed to waiting indefinitely for us to be able to return to normal operations.”

Casual staff refers to employees whose hours are typically scheduled on a weekly to monthly basis, based on work need. Examples include lifeguards, cashier-receptionists, activity leaders and recreation technicians.

“For permanent staff, we are not looking at significant layoffs in the coming weeks.”

Jorgenson says citizens need City work to continue in the core services.

“Our people matter, and we must be financially responsible, especially now as many citizens and businesses are hurting and are directly affected by the pandemic.”

Jorgenson says the City’s approach is to continue with strategies that are, and will, keep the economy and as many services going as possible so that when we start returning to a more normal operating environment, the City is as far ahead as it possibly can be.

“Re-starting our economy on the other side of this pandemic will be paramount, and the City will play a major role in the coming months,” he says.

Residents asked to use Transit for essential travel only

To increase social distancing measures, Transit riders are asked to use the bus service only for essential travel.

When possible, those in a wheelchair are asked to use the rear facing wheelchair station and to buckle themselves in to ensure social distance from operators.

These changes are in addition to transit service reductions and the closure of many public facilities including schools.

Details on Transit’s reduced schedule can be found on Saskatoon Transit’s homepage.

Household Glass Program with SARCAN Temporarily Suspended 

SARCAN has made the decision to close locations across Saskatchewan indefinitely. This means the Household Glass Program will be suspend until locations re-open. During this time, residents are asked to avoid overfilling their Blue Cart/Bin and to hang on to their clean and dry recyclables until their next collection day.

Gordon Howe Campground Delays Opening

The City will temporarily suspend all visitor services at Gordon Howe Campground and will stop taking new reservations until May 1, 2020. The campground reopening will be subject to an assessment of the COVID-19 status. Further updates will be provided as they become available.

Building Permit Inspections

Building Permit Inspections have resumed and are now available, along with Plumbing Permit Inspections, via FaceTime and Skype video calls.

AMI Water Meters
Meter upgrade appointments are suspended until further notice. Learn more about the project at www.saskatoon.ca/watermeter.    

2020 Property Tax Financial Relief & Flexibility - Update
For citizens experiencing the effects of the economic impact due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City is committed to providing increased flexibility and immediate short-term relief for your 2020 Property Tax payment.

The City is extending a three-month grace period to provide additional time to pay your 2020 Property Tax. You will not incur any late payment penalties on your 2020 Property Tax if you pay the full amount due by September 30, 2020.

Also, for TIPPS customers currently paying their 2020 Property Tax over 12-equal monthly installments, you may request to be removed from TIPPS at any time should you require immediate, short-term financial relief without incurring a penalty. Your full property tax amount will then be due September 30, 2020.

Updates will continue to be provided at saskatoon.ca/covid-19 and at saskatoonpolice.ca

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