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

    Mitch Blyth
    General Manager
    Carpe Diem Group featuring our new Land Jet mobile office division.
    Regina, Saskatoon & Yorkton Sk.

  • 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.

SGI Bike Uprising

Doesn’t SGI know it’s not cool to cause an uprising amongst those most likely to ride motorcycles up and down the streets of SGI brass?

The increase in motorcycle insurance rates cannot be to just break even, since the value of the insurance is past the value of the object it is insuring in some cases! A car’s insurance starts out being 1/25th of the total vehicle at times in its life. Toward the end of the vehicles’ mechanical life, it’s still less than 1/2 (annually) in most cases.

SGI should be fair, and any case where the insurance is more than 50% of the bike, knock it down to that if it’s not lower than the rate being charged already. Even then, after two years, they could afford to buy the motorcyclist a new bike of the same age/quality, and still make money! Could you envision paying $4000/year to insure your $8000 car? It’s absurd.

Some rates will go up and others will go down, but the most dramatic change will be sport bikes and bikes with engines over 400 cubic centimetres.

Saskatoon’s Colby Guldie just bought a new motorcycle and found out his rate could go from $180 a month to $368 month. He says that’s not fair.

“You know, if I’m at fault for an incident I think, yeah, I should be paying more, that makes sense to me,” he said. “But I’m five years running now with a clean motorcycle record. I don’t think I should be having my rates doubled, bam, just like that.”

Guldie says it’s unfair that SGI is lumping smaller bikes with much faster ones. He’s already written to politicians and to SGI and says he’ll attend public hearings to fight the proposed increase.

While almost all motorcycle users will pay double-digit increases, some will pay even more.

To look at an extreme case, someone with an old sport bike (1982 and older) with a 1200-cc engine who used to pay $1,001 a year might have to pay $4,309 in future — a 331 per cent increase.

Explaining the proposed hikes, SGI president Andrew Cartmell said motorcycle users have relatively high injury claim costs. The proposed increase is “significant”, but with the rates as they currently are, motorcycle users are essentially being subsidized by all the other drivers, he said.

(emphasis mine)

They need to use the SGI points system to fix this problem. If someone has a perfect driving record, they should get a discount to close to the amount they’ve been paying now. Even so, it feels like a “bait and switch” scam to those who’ve bought bikes thinking they had affordable insurance rates. In Saskatchewan, every motor vehicle must be insured to be driven, yet there is only one insurance provider: SGI. Traditionally they have the best rates in the country, but this motorcycle-boondoggle is an example of why they need competition here.