Transit changes to accompany U-Pass

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Route 22 (Arcola East) is one of the proposed new transit routes to offer improved service to the University. Map via City of Regina

Route 22 (Arcola East) is one of the proposed new transit routes to offer improved service to the University. Map via City of Regina

City seeks feedback as route changes finalized

Starting next semester, U of R students will be swiping their U-Passes on Regina Transit busses across the city. The result of an agreement between URSU and the City of Regina, the U-Pass will be mandatory for all students who live within the city limits, except those living within a 1km radius of the University. U-Pass will be valid for all routes and times during the semester (including paratransit), meaning students can use their passes for all transit needs, not just their school commutes.

As part of the U-Pass implementation process, several changes have been proposed to improve the city’s transit system and accommodate the growth in ridership.

Over the past weeks, Regina Transit has been collecting feedback from students and the general public regarding the proposed route changes, which will accompany the U-Pass implementation.

“We asked the City to bring them [Regina Transit staff] to campus,” said URSU President Devon Peters, “and get some consultation going on what students thought. It sounds like they managed to get somewhere around 550-600 responses from students and people coming in and actively engaging in person over the last two days.”

According to Peters, student response to the proposals has been “overwhelmingly positive.”

The proposed route changes are as follows: Route 18 (Harbour Landing) would be expanded to include the University loop with service to FNU. Route 21 (Glencairn) would be diverted away from Prince of Wales Drive in order to shorten the duration of the route. Route 30 (Rochdale Express) would be shortened, no longer servicing the entire University loop. Finally, a new route would be added – the proposed Route 22 (Arcola East) would improve access to the University from the city’s east side. All the proposed route maps are available on the City of Regina Transit website.

Grant Yablonski, route and scheduling analyst for the City of Regina, was on campus collecting student feedback on the proposed changes.

“It’s been all good,” Yablonski told the Carillon. “A couple of odd comments where we changed the routes a little bit, but for the most part, the feedback’s been excellent.”

When asked if any part of the proposals were likely to change following student feedback, Yablonski said he didn’t think so.

“Not at this point. Most of the feedback has been positive for what we have in place already, so moving forward we’re pretty certain that what we have will work.”

According to Peters, the next steps are to finalize the opt-out system, and decide what the physical pass will look like. “We have a pretty solid plan,” he says, “but it hasn’t been confirmed yet. We’ve been working closely with the U of S around how they did it, and they’ve given us a lot of really sage advice that’s been really helpful.”

Peters also noted that there would be annual meetings between URSU and the Transit Department to ensure that the process remains smooth and mutually beneficial.

For students, the benefit of U-Pass comes at a cost of $87.60 per semester ($175.20 for the year), which will be added to their student fees automatically. Students who can opt out of the pass must do so at the beginning of each semester. “I think students are happy with the price point we were able to secure,” said Peters.

The City of Regina is accepting feedback on the proposed route changes until March 4. Comments can be sent to reginatransit@regina.ca, or (306) 777-7000.

 

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