The launch of Saskatoon’s bus rapid transit system will be delayed for one year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A report to the city’s transport committee on September 7 says the pandemic has not allowed for proper engagement with stakeholders.
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“Not being able to meet with each other in person meant that we weren’t able to live up to our principles of commitment to inclusion and relationship building,” said Terry Schmidt, general manager of transportation and construction, on Wednesday. in a press release.
“We determined that there was a need to extend the launch date to June 2026 so that we could garner the significant contributions from the public and staff necessary to ensure that the BRT system meets the needs of our residents.”
The city said public comment on planning and construction is needed in several areas.
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While consultation on other city projects may have taken place virtually or online through surveys, the city has indicated that it wants to ensure that all transit users can consult with the administration. .
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The city’s director of technical services for transport and construction said that the public grants requested by the city to help fund the BRT have no deadlines, which makes it slightly easier to organize the public consultation. .
“Anyway, we have kind of a wait-and-see model around grant funding and we have the commitment that’s been on hold for a year and a half. So there is nothing urging us to move this file forward faster than it really needs, ”Dan Willems told Global News.
He added that Nutana stakeholders were able to organize virtual engagement meetings and that could be realistic for all neighborhoods depending on the severity of the pandemic.
The final route was approved by city council in April 2019 and was initially scheduled to be launched in June 2025.
Once operational, the city said the three lines that make up the rapid transit network will form the backbone of Saskatoon Transit.
-With files from Kyle Benning
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