It’s not easy being a transit rider in Saskatoon lately. Decades of underinvestment combined with increasing city size, both in population and geographical area, have put strain on the bus system. This is compounded by labour relations issues between the city management and the transit workers’ union.
Missing from this equation however, is an organized voice representing the people for whom transit exists – the riders. It is not hard to register displeasure with the system. What is becoming clear is that there needs to be an organized voice for riders in order to effect change. To this end, there will be a meeting Sunday, Sept. 14 from 2-4 pm in Lower Place Riel, on campus. Other cities such as Winnipeg and Edmonton have a riders union; the rise of Saskatoon Cycles has seen increased attention to cycling in the city. Politicians like organized groups, as it it easy to point to their membership and say “Here are people who want this.” Surveys like the census only give us an idea of what people are doing at the time of the census – they do not tell us about desire. I believe an organized group of people can help propel Saskatoon towards a more perfect system.
Unfortunately I will not be able to attend – as you read this, I will be in New York City, check back here late next week for some photography and analysis – but I strongly urge you to join. You don’t have to be a frequent rider of the bus – you just have to want it to be better.