Massive mass transit headache

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I believe that Regina’s bus system needs a change.

There it is. I said it. The one thing that citizens, especially students, have been thinking for years.

I know I speak for many when I say students rejoiced when Campus Express buses were introduced. Good for you, City of Regina, for recognizing students lead hectic, and impoverished lives, and appreciate quick and efficient means of transportation as opposed to bank-breaking parking tickets.

One question, though: why does it stop running at 9:30 p.m.?

There are students who take classes later in the day who would like a quick bus ride just as much as the early-morning University goers. There are also students who have classes on weekends; why should they have to spend over an hour in transit on the bus just because they live in an “inconvenient” part of the city? Why aren’t there more Campus Express buses?

Or better yet, why don’t all routes have express buses? This city is constantly striving toward a big-city feel – why not extend that to our system of public transit?

It all starts with a big-city mentality. Other big cities have buses that run more efficiently, and I don’t just mean they use less gas. In other cities, if you miss your No. 3 bus, another will come along in 20 minutes at most. As well, you can get virtually anywhere by bus – does this sound like our transit system?

Efficiency is key. Instead of having several buses going to the same places – the university, downtown, Walmart, etc. –  and no buses going directly to others, such as some of the city’s leisure centres or outdoor skating rinks; there should be fewer buses and they should run express routes that reach all sorts of destinations. Fewer buses running more efficient routes more often would solve many of the problems with the Regina transit system, problems that deter people from using public transit and those that people who do already ride transit have to deal with on a daily basis.

Another problem is the bus stops on nearly every block. In bigger cities, those that the City of Regina is constantly saying it aspires to be like, there are frequent enough stops that the public does not have to walk too far from its destination, while the stops are also strategically placed far enough apart that the routes exemplify efficiency and effectiveness. Constant stopping and starting is hardly conducive to creating efficiency.

For example, look at the No. 2 bus that goes from downtown to Argyle Park. In my experience, the bus was on time, the interior was warm, and the driver was kind and good at his job. The bus, however, was stopped for 10 minutes in front of the Walmart on Pasqua and Rochdale before it proceeded to its next stop, the Superstore across the street, where it sat for another several minutes.

All things considered, this is no big deal, but when you have to deal with a person ringing the bell to request a stop on Albert Street, the bus pulling over, the person getting off, the doors closing, and immediately another person pulling the cord during the entire ride there, it gets to be tedious.

Admittedly, I am new to taking transit, but this weekend was the worst of my experiences. As I rode the No. 2, I found myself wondering if this wasn’t a personal taxi service I was taking, for all the stops that the bus made. Even though irritating, this can’t be blamed on the city – once the temperature dips below t-shirt weather, most people don’t want to walk father than they have to regardless of how irritating the constant stops are.

Despite the inefficient system, one thing we can be proud of is that the City of Regina is slowly advancing technologically. It has a CityApp available for smartphones, which allows users to view all sorts of city-based information such as construction zones, flight times, and remarkably even bus stops.

I once tried to use this feature to get to the Northwest Leisure Centre, and after I hit enter and the app did a bit of number crunching, the trip planner responded to my request with an error message. It could not calculate my route because there were either too many transfers or the total trip time exceeded three hours.”

Three hours! I live downtown, the city centre, the central stopping point for most if not 19 bus routes, and apparently there is not a single bus that could take me to one of the city’s four leisure centres. It is more than likely that the trip planner application has a few bugs to work out, but nonetheless I was unimpressed.

You know what’s ironic here? I work for the city, yet I couldn’t even get to work that day because of its broken bus app. Yikes.

Cassandra Hubrich
Contributor

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