More Small Town Banks Closing in Saskatchewan

“they don’t think about what goes on in these small villages. All they can see is $ & cents & that’s it,” she said.”

It doesn’t matter if the pencil pushers are in Toronto on Bay St., or in Regina on Albert St. they just don’t get how important it is to have viable rural communities with services for farmers, teachers, children, etc.

The Core Of the Problem Is Austerity

In the Saskatchewan Legislature Thursday, Premier Brad Wall says a decision to stop STC bus service and lay-off 250 people did not come easy.

Wall says the decision was difficult but ridership had declined significantly.

“As ridership declines and the costs increase, that per-passenger subsidy is well up over 90-dollars,” said Premier Brad Wall. “Almost 100-dollars per passenger, Mr. Speaker. And at some point you have to ask the question; is that the core function of government? To subsidize to 90-dollars per passenger for the bus company?”

STC’s the very definition of a “sustainable core service“! It costs less than a municipal transit service!

@PremierBradWall March 22, 2017:
#skbudget outlines a 3yr plan to balance: controlled spending, sustainable core services, less reliance on resource rev & keep econ strong.

==

There is presently no replacement bus service as the Minister indicated there would be. People are being stranded daily now, in Saskatoon and Regina even, unable to directly get to the other city without desperately going through Winnipeg, hitchhiking (illegally in Regina) or flying on expensive airline tickets.

Today, and last week, Greyhound’s website indicates “no service available” between Regina and Saskatoon! I’ve been in contact with Greyhound perhaps more than the incompetent Saskatchewan Government, to try and fix this problem.

There are companies other than Greyhound applying to operate in Saskatchewan, but the government has dragged on with deciding, until after the deadline arbitrarily set for STC’s privatization closure and subsequent sell off.

“The province is confident many of the routes that STC covered will be taken over by other privately owned companies.
Minister Responsible Joe Hargrave says they have already received an offer from a major bus company to take over some routes that will be cancelled when STC is done and Saskatchewan is the only province that still operates a bus company like STC.”

The Highway Traffic Board is supposed to be independent but……
“The HTB is, according to its website, a “completely independent body” that consists of members appointed by the Sask. Party government.
Its chair, Bill Missal, is a long-time Saskatchewan Party supporter who has, according to Elections Saskatchewan, donated to the Sask. Party.
He has also worked with Sask. Party MLA and former Highways Minister Don McMorris at election time.”

You might also like:
https://saskboy.wordpress.com/2017/06/05/weak-transportation-week/
https://saskboy.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/transportation-not-meeting-demand/
https://saskboy.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/stc-bus-shut-down-by-callous-saskparty/

Transportation Not Meeting Demand

It’s been kind of a bad year for transportation in Saskatchewan. Aside from the potential Supercharger for Swift Current, there haven’t been many tangible bright spots for Saskatchewan.

  • Premier Wall rejects the carbon tax plan to reduce emissions
  • SGI says they’re not considering a rebate on Zero Emission Vehicles, as they once had 5 years ago until Minister McMillian of SGI (now President McMillian of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Procurers) cancelled the rebate. Gee, no bad optics there, right? Just an oil industry lobbyist directly encouraging people to buy trucks over EV or hybrid vehicles.
  • The SaskParty closed and sold off the STC Crown, with no replacement for bus service apparently in mind. As a result, there’s no bus service between Saskatoon and Regina! I emailed a company reported in the news as seeking to offer service, and they replied:

    We have not been approved for scheduled passenger service yet

    Sincerely
    Mitch Blyth
    General Manager
    Carpe Diem Group featuring our new Land Jet mobile office division.
    Regina, Saskatoon & Yorkton Sk.
    []531-9626

  • Cumberland House still doesn’t have sufficient transportation to/from it.
  • Via Rail offered unlimited $150 passes and travel in July to youth under 25, then only to 1867 youth, then several thousand, but stopped before demand was satisfied, and failed to offer the pass for additional months, or add additional train service to meet the obvious demand. Saskatchewan only has Via service to 2 cities, Saskatoon and Melville. Regina, Moose Jaw, and Swift Current are left out even though they are on the Trans-Canada as is Calgary in Alberta.

Considering I was hoping a passenger rail line between Saskatoon and Regina could one day be built, it’s especially appalling that the government has ended bus service between the major cities this year.

So what can one person do? I attended the large rally at STC headquarters in March. I’ve pushed on City Council several times encouraging them to have Regina Transit buy STC resources and operate it on profitable routes as a money maker for the City, while providing a valuable service the province has abdicated itself from.

Disruption of Used Car Market And Transportation Norms

By 2025 we’ll see:

“Cities will ban human drivers once the data confirms how dangerous they can be behind a wheel. This will spread to suburbs, and then beyond. There will be a “mass stranding of existing vehicles”

“The value of second-hard cars will plunge. You will have to pay to dispose of your old vehicle.”

No more petrol or diesel cars, buses, or trucks will be sold anywhere in the world within eight years. The entire market for land transport will switch to electrification, leading to a collapse of oil prices and the demise of the petroleum industry as we have known it for a century.

This is the futuristic forecast by Stanford University economist Tony Seba. His report, with the deceptively bland title Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030, has gone viral in green circles and is causing spasms of anxiety in the established industries.

“The cost per mile for EVs will be 6.8 cents, rendering petrol cars obsolete. Insurance costs will fall by 90 per cent. The average American household will save $5,600 per year by making the switch. The US government will lose $50 billion a year in fuel taxes. ”

“The Robot Revolution Will Take Your Car, Your Mom’s Car, and All the Oil in 13 Years”

“Countries that fail to lead or make a transition to TaaS will become the 21st century equivalents of horse-based countries trying to compete with economies whose transportation systems are based on cars, trucks, tractors and airplanes”, concludes the RethinkX report.

 

The SaskParty’s Deaf Ears & Dumb Cuts

It’s staggering that the province is willing to spend multitudes more money on redundant highway so people can avoid going to Regina, than they are to improve literacy.

Don Morgan is out of touch, and wrong.

The Saskatchewan Library Trustees’ Association said in a news release after the budget that Morgan has said the province “should be getting out of bricks and mortar libraries and people should be focusing on electronic or alternate media.”

The association said it was “deeply disappointed and discouraged that the work we have done promoting the value of Saskatchewan’s libraries has fallen on deaf ears.

“Had the government been listening they would know that libraries are indeed working with promoting and developing technologies. Libraries are the wave of the future.”

STC Bus Service Couldn’t Survive the SaskParty

This news makes me so mad and disappointed. The future of Saskatchewan got a little more bleak today.

“What are the core services that people expect from government – and it is not necessarily a bus company,” Finance Minister Kevin Doherty said Wednesday.

“As for the short window of time before service ends, the province said new buses were on order and they would have to pay for them.

One of the worst parts of this is that the effing CTF finally gets their way. Now there’s no feasible means to exist in a small town without a car. If you’re blind, or can’t drive, you’re screwed. It’s a heartless cut that hurts seniors, environmentalists, people with disabilities who cannot drive, and makes life less likely to thrive in small town Saskatchewan.

ADDED:

“You guys don’t know what you’re doing to small communities. Think about the little people.”

One Nigerian immigrant doesn’t know how she’ll bring her daughter into Saskatoon for medical appointments. An elderly Saskatoon woman said she won’t be able to travel anymore to the Manitou Springs Resort and Mineral Spa near Watrous. Another man lamented the loss of parcel service as he headed to pick up some car parts ordered from Prince Albert.

My life is shutting down

It’s the sort of problem that cannot be solved without government support. If people could form a co-operative and offer replacement service, they would, but they simply wouldn’t make enough money to offer this vital link between communities. It cannot be overstated what a body blow this is to rural Saskatchewan, and that even includes cities like Weyburn, Humboldt, and Yorkton.

What’s Really Going On With Climate Change

There are too many people espousing their uneducated, or simply malicious views about the problem of climate change. There are enough of them in some places as to have totally halted progress against one of the greatest threats facing not only our species, but countless others. It’s equivalent to having spotted an Earth-directed asteroid with perhaps 50 years advance notice, but the urgency to solve the similar problem of climate change is no where close to what we’d expect for that pending disaster.

If you want to understand the problem, there’s this useful guide. Bill McKibben also provided this easy to understand summary of the magnitude of the problem.

[If] our goal is to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius—the upper limit identified by the nations of the world—how much more new digging and drilling can we do?

Here’s the answer: zero.

That’s a lot of not digging. Most people grew up with the idea of oil prospectors and the image of Jed Clampett getting sprayed with Black Gold is seared into the brains of everyone older than 35. Yet if we don’t stop digging in short years, we all might as well be at the bottom of a see-ment pool.

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