It’s now been more than three and a half years since the provincial government announced that it was shuttering the Saskatchewan Transportation Company, and more than two years since Greyhound Canada announced that it was withdrawing from Western Canada, leaving prairie residents with few options for intercity transit. Now, in the midst of a global pandemic urban transit services, which were already struggling in many cases, are in crisis mode. There are municipal and provincial elections in Saskatoon this fall – they will be the first since STC was shut down and there is little doubt that transit will figure prominently locally with the contentious nature of the planned evolution of Saskatoon’s bus service to a Bus Rapid Transit service.
With all of this in mind, we recently ran a two-part series on transit for our From the Ground Up podcast. You can listen to the first episode below, which features clips from the excellent Amalgamated Transit Union Canada (ATU Canada) audio documentary Still Waiting for the Bus: The Unnatural Death of Prairie Intercity Transit, which was written and produced by Emily Leedham. It also features an interview with journalist and author James Wilt, whose book Do Androids Dream of Electric Cars? Public Transit in the Age of Google, Uber, and Elon Musk was just published by Between the Lines. The show features stories of former prairie bus users and James’ analysis of how the public can win back robust and equitable transit services.
We of course recommend listening to Still Waiting for the Bus in its entirety, which you can do below.
The second episode, which you can find below, refocuses on the Saskatchewan context, featuring an interview with Jacob Alhassan, a researcher from the Department of Community Health and Epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan who has studied the STC closure and its impacts. It also features a chat with Stop the Cuts, a local anti-austerity group that is organizing a virtual town hall meeting about the STC on September 10th – an event that CJS is participating in alongside ATU Canada, the Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan, and numerous bus riders and organizers.
You can find the poster for the STC event below.
You can read a recap of the town hall and about Jacob’s research in this article from the Sask Dispatch. Finally, Jacob put together a short podcast series of his own exploring various facets of transportation and health, which you can find here:
Impressive work you’re doing over here. I always enjoy writing and reading about public transit in my city and around the world.