STC buses no longer rolling as per budget cuts
- EFN Staff | March 23, 2017
It’s a service used by many, whether if it’s for medical reasons, to connect with family and friends, or for schooling – and now those riders will soon face the end of their mode of transportation, as the provincial government announced it is eliminating the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) as part of its budget cuts.
Raquel Crizaldo who lives in small-town Oxbow, SK. utilizes the STC bus twice a week for school. When she heard about the news, she was shocked as she was left wondering how she will commute to Regina for school. Moving to Regina isn’t an option for her as she has a home, work and kids in Oxbow.
“I don’t know my other options because I just found out today,” she says. “I feel sad but at the same time the government is going to save a lot of money because the bus is so big and any passengers.”
Another passenger Samantha Delorme from Yorkton area was notified about the news of the soon to be closed bus company through social media.
“I wasn’t sure what was happening so I came to the front desk [at Regina’s bus depot] and the guy said her and her friend would be taking a cab to Yorkton because of no bus services,” says Delorme who caught the bus for dental work in Regina. “ should have let us know right away. There was no indication that we weren’t going to take the bus home.”
The public wasn’t informed about the one-day bus closure as the company took that time to inform their employees about the news that will leave them jobless end of May.
The 2017-18 Saskatchewan Budget released yesterday revealed the government has ended this service due to the decline in bus travel, and to save money on the deficit the provincial government is currently facing.
The provincial Finance Minister Kevin Doherty says the decision to wind down on STC wasn’t an easy choice to make – it was a decision that will leave over 230 people without a job end of May and many without a service they depended on. Efforts were made to try change the business model to improve their revenue base and to increase ridership failed.
“Every year $10-11-million dollars is being expended to subsidize STC $85-million over the next five years to maintain everything that we’re doing at STC,” he says. “Caucus made the decision to stop [the bus service]. It wasn’t the cabinet or the finance minister or the minister responsible.”
The STC is not being sold or privatized the choice is to wind down on the service. Minister Doherty says determining the company’s assets will be worked over a period of time.
NDP Athabasca MLA Buckley Belanger says a lot of people in Saskatchewan will be tremendously effected by this service closure.
“A lot of elders use the bus service, people going to medical appointments, transferring good and services as well,” he says. “It’s a vital important part of our community service so when you see the service being cut, it’s going to have a drastic negative effect.”
The Federation of Sovereignty Indigenous Nations (FSIN) Chief Bobby Cameron said in a media release that the “elimination of the STC service will impacts the elderly, those with low incomes and reduces access to health care. It is low and fixed income people of all backgrounds who are going to be hardest hit by this.”
According to the news release, freight will continue to be accepted for delivery until May 19 and passenger services will cease May 31st.