For many people, the day begins at the local bus stop and continues with a journey that will take them safely and reliably through city traffic to their destination. In Saskatoon, it’s a story that has played out now for a century. The city is celebrating 100 years of public transit today.
'There is a sense of pride' —Harold Matthies, Saskatoon Transit
"These things do creep up on you," said operations manager Harold Matthies. "We are very busy doing what we do and all of a sudden you realize that wow, we've been here a long time."
Saskatoon Transit actually hit the streets on January 1, 1913 with a dozen street cars. More than 5,000 people rode public transit that day. The fare was five cents for adults and three cents for children. Today, there are more than 150 buses on the road.
"I think there is a sense of pride that we’ve gotten to where we are, and in our opinion, successfully gotten to where we are," Matthies said.
As part of the celebration, Saskatoon Transit is hosting a party today on 23rd Street between 3rd and 4th Avenue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. CST. There will be all sorts of entertainment, food, and birthday cake. Betty Bueckert is one of the many happy bus riders who have gathered to celebrate public transportation.
"They are getting a whole lot busier than they used to be. Other than that, no the buses are good. I have no complaints about anything. Except the streets! That's another story," Bueckert said.
Bueckert's love of public transportation rubbed off on her two sons. Both are now bus drivers in Saskatoon.
The celebration doesn’t end with free burgers and cake. That daily ritual of riding the bus to work, school, and other destinations comes with a bit of a surprise. It’s free. Today, the ride is on Saskatoon Transit.