Letter to MLA regarding STC Closure/Privatization

Dear Mrs. Beaudry-Mellor:

I’m dismayed by your government’s cut of all rural SK bus service. This is a horrible decision that isolates people in small towns and cities, and harms people who cannot drive including people who are blind, or unable or unwilling to operate a private motor vehicle. It will increase the cost of healthcare delivery. Package delivery to rural Saskatchewan is also harmed. Charter buses will be harder to obtain in our province now too.

Rather than cut an essential public transportation service that will literally never be offered by the private sector or even a co-operative (because it will never make money), the PST could have been raised to 6.5%. This would pay to improve public transportation across the province. Did you realize that your government gives close to $0/year to regular public transportation, which makes it a Canadian anomaly. In an increasingly urbanizing province, might it be a good idea to ensure people don’t sit in traffic jams daily? One could assume that the SaskParty doesn’t care about public transportation, people without cars in rural Saskatchewan, or building solutions to reduce air pollution.

I hope you can work to reverse this short-sighted cut, because I fear that once the service is privatized, another responsible government will not take the time to build a crown service that is required for prosperity in rural Saskatchewan.

Sincerely,

John Klein

Regina

P.S. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is no doubt overjoyed by this privatization. I asked them in 2015 for an example of a private bus service that would serve as the model for one in Saskatchewan to use if we lost STC. They suggested one in Hong Kong. Seriously. Saskatchewan is so much like Hong Kong apparently. I guess if you don’t reverse the cut, the SaskParty could bring in consultants from Hong Kong to help. If they cost less than $12Mil to consult, you’d still save money.

UPDATE: Instead of the “human conversation” promised in her Facebook ads, I got a form letter response that didn’t address my points or ideas.

Hello John

Thank you for sharing your concerns about the provincial budget.

As you know, Saskatchewan is faced with a difficult challenge due to resource revenue being down over $1 billion for three years, tax revenue down due to resource sector slowdown (corporate tax), and a growing population adding pressure to vital services. Our plan includes controlling and reducing spending, modernizing and expanding the tax system, investing in priority areas, and returning to balance over three years.

Meeting the challenge requires very difficult choices, not the least of which is winding down STC. Despite the company’s best efforts, ridership continues to drop

and costs continue to soar, the per passenger subsidy ballooning from $25 per passenger to $94 in the last decade alone. The growing burden is not sustainable and the government made the decision that the funding would be best used on core priorities.

{Why is public transportation not a “core priority” for the SaskParty?}

Knowing your concerns is helpful as we move forward. I take feedback from constituents seriously and truly appreciate you taking the time to write.

Sincerely,

Tina

Sent on behalf of

The Honourable Tina Beaudry-Mellor, MLA
196 Massey Road, Regina, SK   S4S 4N5
T: []
E: []

I’ve included corrections and facts that supplement Tina’s letter.

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One response to “Letter to MLA regarding STC Closure/Privatization

  1. March 29, 2017

    Hi Tina,

    Thank-you for your response. I can’t say I agree with it, however.

    I again ask that your government restore STC, and allow it to flourish. Can you confirm that STC was directed not to advertise? Is that a “best effort” to increase ridership? If ridership being low was the problem, ticket prices should have come down. Why sell the Crown now with smaller buses on-order? Why close it with the the package delivery service, and Saskatoon-Regina run being “profitable”? Does the Sask Gov not need another revenue stream right now?

    No, this cut was ideologically motivated, not financially motivated, and SaskParty supporters have confirmed this to be their view. A 70 year old Crown is a literal “core priority”. Minister Campeau said 9 months ago that STC provides “access to essential services”, so your government is literally limiting access to core priorities, with STC’s sell-off.

    Why does your government not support public transportation? Is there no concern from you and other Ministers about climate change? I think we’re leaving a shameful legacy to our children when we fail to plan to reduce air pollution. The sell-off is damaging to the public’s perception of the dependability of infrastructure in Saskatchewan, and that hurts our economy and our environment. Closing STC hurts a lot of people, and it should be reversed immediately.

    Sincerely,
    John

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