Friday, 17 November 2017 04:24

Swift Current council pleased as it receives good value from SaskAbilities transit contract

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Swift Current council pleased as it receives good value from SaskAbilities transit contract Swift Current council pleased as it receives good value from SaskAbilities transit contract

The City of Swift Current has renewed the transit contract with SaskAbilities to operate the access and public transit services in the community. Councillors approved a new one-year contract agreement with the Swift Current branch of SaskAbilities at a regular council meeting, Nov. 6.


The contract will be in effect until the end of December 2018 at a total annual fee of $419,200 or $34,933.34 per month plus GST. The agreement is based on the cost of services plus an administration fee.
According to a report presented to the meeting, the operational cost of Swift Current’s transit system has been reduced by five per cent per year. This saving is a result of the implementation of two fixed routes and the discontinuation of the shuttle service.
“Our transit that we have here in Swift Current is still an evolving concept,” Mayor Denis Perrault said after the meeting. “It's something that at this present time is not even three years old. … We'll look to the future to see if we can amend or change these services to better meet the needs of our residents. That's something we'll continue to work on. I look at it as being an evolving transit model.”
The current transit system was created after a review of the previous transit arrangements. This review started in 2011 as part of the development of a transportation master plan for the city.
SaskAbilities has been operating the access transit service for individuals with mobility challenges on behalf of the City since 2006. At the same the City contracted a private operator to provide a tele-bus public transit service. This arrangement changed in 2015, when the City launched the new Swift Transit service and contracted SaskAbilities as the service provider for the access transit and public transit systems. In September 2017 the City expanded the Swift Transit service. Until then there was one fixed route and a call-to-book shuttle service.
The shuttle service was discontinued and replaced with a fixed route. The original fixed route provides a transit service from south to north while the second fixed route runs from east to west.
The two routes intersect at the Swift Current Mall and in the downtown, to allow transit users to transfer between the two routes. This recent expansion of the Swift Transit service includes a high school priority service on the original fixed route to provide a bus service to Swift Current Comprehensive High School students.
“That's specifically to help out with the Comp students,” Perrault said. “There was a change to their funding model and buses were a thing that had a real big impact in last year's budget. So that was one way that we were trying to work with our school division to see if it was something we could offer.”
SaskAbilities Regional Director Kimi Duzan is pleased with the renewal of the transit contract with the City. She attended the council meeting with the bus drivers to announce that all members of the SaskAbilities transit team have completed their Safe Places certification.
“We’re very proud to serve this community and we’re very proud to have our relationship continue with the City of Swift Current to provide transit,” she said. “Today we’re particularly proud to acknowledge our partnership around Safe Places Youth Certified. We have dozens of staff in the organization that are trained and very specifically the transit team that are present tonight.”
The City of Swift Current's Safe Places – Youth Certified initiative was launched in early 2016 to reduce the risk of abuse and bullying for children and youth in the community. The goal of the initiative is that adults who work with youth or who have contact with youth through different activities will become youth certified through Safe Places. During the certification process an applicant must complete criminal record and vulnerable sector checks.
“SaskAbilities feels very strongly about our work with vulnerable people, and the opportunity we have to learn and to make our community safer,” Duzan said. “We go through regular and ongoing training for our staff as a team. All 70 staff know about abuse prevention and that dynamic. So when Safe Places – Youth Certified came along, it was a great opportunity for us to even strengthen more so our commitment to the community and to vulnerable people.”
More than half of the SaskAbilities staff in Swift Current are already Safe Places certified, including the members of the transit team.
“Those of us who have taken the training, will incorporate it in our regular and ongoing training that goes to all staff,” she said.
Mayor Perrault welcomed the commitment of SaskAbilities to the Safe Places initiative, which has received significant support from individuals and organizations.
“It means a lot to us,” he said. “It's recognition and it's a form of validation for the good work that Mayor Schafer did two years ago this January. We now got well over 1,000 members that are Safe Places accredited as well as one other municipality in Gull Lake, and we're seeing other municipalities reaching out to us. Our teams have gone out and met with them and shared with them what Safe Places mean and why it's happening.”

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Matthew Liebenberg

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