Bus mall

Saskatoon transit does not have enough buses due to a shortage of mechanics. (CBC)

Officials in Saskatoon are chopping bus service, effective Tuesday, because they don't have enough people to do required maintenance on their fleet.

News of the cuts was released late Friday afternoon, just prior to the Labour Day long weekend.

"It has been extremely difficult to attract mechanics to Saskatoon Transit," Bob Howe, the city's director of the bus service, said in a statement Friday. "We have been in an environment of labour uncertainty for the last couple of months, which has been challenging.

The city said most of its regular routes will be operating and the cuts will affect what officials call "service upgrades" such as High School Specials and the addition of additional buses during peak times. Some routes, known as "Direct service" are also being cut.

"In all situations where transit is being suspected there are still other route options," Howe said.

Here is a list, provided by the city, of the service cuts (effective Sept. 2):

  • All High School Specials with the exception of College Park to St. Joseph and the Caswell School Special.
  • All Downtown Direct and University Direct buses.
  • No extra buses for peak travel periods on routes with heavy volumes (such as Route 80, Kenderdine/City Centre).
  • Planned new routes are suspended, affecting Route 26 (Clarence/University) and Express Routes for Parkrdige, Willowgrove and Kenderdine.

The city said the service cuts will result in more passenger volumes on the unaffected routes and that could lead to some full buses during peak rush hour times.

"We encourage transit users to consider adjusting their trip times, if possible, to avoid peak morning and afternoon trip times," How said.

The statement did not say when service would return to normal.

According to the release, the city has been looking for journey mechanics and has been offering a 10 per cent premium, over and above its set rates. However, the city said its set rates are tied to a current collective agreement and it can not advertise the higher rates until a new agreement is reached.