It seems that ever since I arrived in Saskatoon more than 34 years ago there has been a never-ending attempt to encourage more people to use public transit. Results have been less than stellar but as the population increases and more and more vehicles clog up our streets and roads the city seems to believe in the old saying, “if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”.
Let’s face it, it’s extremely difficult to change the mindset of those who can afford their own vehicle and the freedom it brings to go wherever you want whenever you want. For them to take a bus would require the public system to be so simple, reliable and efficient that it would be hard to come up with a reason not to use it. I live out in the suburbs and I’m one of those people who still work the traditional 8 to 5, Monday to Friday work week. It takes me a lot longer to get to and from work than it used to and I just might try taking a bus on days in which I don’t have an early morning or after work meeting if I thought I could get to my office easily and on time. I hear the city is planning a new rapid transit system and undertaking work to improve transit shelters and bus stops. Anything they can do is a good idea because if they don’t keep trying our commutes will get longer and slower as Saskatoon grows. Given our vast amount of impatient, erratic drivers with that “need for speed”, that means more danger, more accidents, more wasted police efforts and lane blockage slowing traffic yet again, and more ambulances trundling off to the ER; the only beneficiaries being autobody shops.