With no provincial bus service, Moose Jaw mulls offering commuter connection to Regina

Moose Jaw city council is considering a proposal to offer a bus service for commuters that would offer rides between that city and Regina, following the closure of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company.

Sask. Polytechnic students, workers among those that might benefit from bus service

Students get on and off a city bus. Moose Jaw city council is at the beginning stages of looking at offering a bus service between its city and Regina, for Sask. Polytechnic students and workers. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

Moose Jaw city council is considering a proposal to offer a bus service for commuters that would offer rides between that city and Regina, in the absence of a provincial bus service.

The discussion is still in the early stages, according to city spokesperson Craig Hemingway, but at its most recent council meeting, the City of Moose Jaw looked at a proposal to work with Saskatchewan Polytechnic to help its students get to the post-secondary school's campuses.

The discussion follows the closure of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company in May, and the end of Greyhound's Prairie bus service in October.

The proposed Sask. Polytechnic plan would see a bus shuttle between the Moose Jaw and Regina campuses in the morning and evenings, Monday to Friday, with workers also having the option to use the paid service.

Transportation a major issue, says student

Sukhjot Samra is an international student who has been studying at the Moose Jaw campus for the past three months, and is the vice-president of her local students association.

She travels to Regina frequently on weekends to visit her relatives, tagging along with her sister, who has a driver's licence.

"I have an option," she said, adding that some of her fellow students aren't so lucky.

The STC ended service on May 31, 2017. Since then, several companies have looked to fill the transportation void in the province. (Peter Mills/CBC)

She said a number of students travel from Regina to Moose Jaw, about 70 kilometres away, to be with family or to work, but can only travel at the convenience of whoever agrees to take them.

She's heard of people paying $25 a day to get rides to Moose Jaw, with no guarantee their driver will take them for the rest of the week.

"It would be easy for them to go with a bus, and their timing, and they need not to convince a person, 'Please take us to school tomorrow,'" she said.

At a November forum assembly, many students raised the issue of transportation as a major headache, she said, adding that winter driving conditions can also impede their school attendance.

At its Wednesday council meeting, Moose Jaw looked at a plan that proposed a $25 a day fare, estimating that 40 students might use the service each day. At that rate, it calculated it could make a profit of $34,000 per year.

Hemingway said council has deferred the conversation until the city does a more extensive review to come up with recommendations.