Whether it was a chorus of boos or an energetic round of applause, dozens of people gathered at the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) bus depot to rally against the provincial government’s plan to eliminate the service.
Vehicles drove by and honked in support as people stood on the corner of Saskatchewan Drive and Broad Street Tuesday afternoon with signs in hand and flags of several different unions waving.
“I personally do not drive and it is a big detriment to me,” outlined Laura Tower.
She said she uses the bus every couple of months to visit friends throughout the province and she knows of people who rely on STC every couple of weeks. Tower said she’s upset and frustrated by the government’s decision to eliminate the company, calling it more convenient and cheaper than the alternatives. Taking a cab to Saskatoon for her, she estimated, would cost hundreds of dollars more than a bus.
The province said STC will be finished at the end of May, citing a continued drop in ridership and profits.
“I don’t understand why … I know it is like a financial burden to the taxpayers but why they didn’t go with different options before they actually just said ‘OK, this is the end. This is the stop of the line,'” she said.
Brian Mentiplay was protesting but he admitted he doesn’t use the bus.
“Public transportation ought to be a public priority. Not everything that we do makes money,” he said.
The rally was also used for people to speak out against the province’s Bill 40, which was described by protestors as legislation that would see the province sell up to 49 per cent of Crown corporations.
“That just stinks. Let’s grease the wheels of privatization by redefining privatization,” said Mentiplay.
Those in attendance were urged to contact their MLAs to express their displeasure with the bill or the axing of STC, in the hopes enough feedback will halt the changes from happening.