Skip to main content

'Bus riders are not stupid': Saskatoon bus rider group finds city ad condescending, insulting


Bus Riders of Saskatoon is not on board with a new city social media advertisement.

The ad, posted on the City of Saskatoon’s Facebook page, urges bus riders to be flexible and take an earlier or later bus that’s less crowded.

“Plan to catch an earlier bus or take an alternate trip for a more relaxed ride when it's less crowded. Embrace the flexibility and enjoy the ride,” the city wrote on Facebook.

A group that advocates for better transit says the ad is insulting.

“I found it condescending. It’s as if the riders are being blamed for the difficulties transit is going through,” Robert Clipperton, a member of Bus Riders of Saskatoon, tells CTV News.

"Just saying, well, 'Take another bus at another time.' Bus riders are not stupid. They can figure it out if it works for them, and in a lot of cases it doesn’t work.”

Garnet Woloschuk takes the bus about 15 times a week.

He says the ad blames transit issues on riders and is pushing people away from the service.

“They’re putting responsibility of service on the people who access the service,” Woloschuk says.

He’s calling for an apology from the city. He wants the city to take responsibility, and find solutions, to overcrowded bus routes.

“It’s not an us problem. It’s the bus service’s problem,” Woloschuk says.

Ward 1 councillor Darren Hill calls the ad a "100 per cent miss."

“I'm not sure what the transit marketing department was thinking,” Darren Hill says.

“The onus should not be on riders to adjust their schedule to get a bus that’s got room for them. The majority of people cannot adjust their schedule.”

Issues around transit crowding makes Hill question the city’s plan to build a new bus rapid transit system.

“We're struggling to have our regular transit system operating properly and to provide a reliable service. What makes us think that the public's going to be invested in bus rapid transit, if we can't even do it for a regular transit,” Hill says.

Michael Moellenbeck, director of Saskatoon Transit, said the city is experiencing full buses and bracing for possible delays in the winter.

“This social media campaign encourages riders who may not have to travel at peak times to consider an alternate time to make space for people who don’t have flexibility,” Moellenbeck wrote to CTV News, when asked about the advertisement.

Moellenbeck says the city is doing its best to “maintain the aging and depleting fleet of buses.”

“Saskatoon Transit will continue to share messages to improve the rider experience as we bring more new buses into service,” Moellenbeck says.

The city is expecting to bring in 10 new buses in 2024. Top Stories

Stay Connected