Saskatoon Transit fully accessible for people who use wheelchairs, scooters and canes
Published Friday, March 29, 2019 11:31AM CST
Lynnett Boris uses a scooter and takes the bus on a regular basis. Normally, she would have to call dispatch to make sure the bus has a ramp.
Now, she doesn’t have to. Saskatoon Transit announced Thursday afternoon at TCU Place that their new fleet of buses has ramps and can kneel. This can accommodate people in scooters like Boris or those with canes, wheelchairs and strollers.
“It’s made life a lot easier. It makes people with disabilities feel more part of society,” Boris said.
The move is meant to give people with mobility challenges more options.
Boris said she also uses Access Transit, which is an escort bus service provided by the city for those who are unable to use the regular transit system with safety and dignity. However the service must be booked seven days in advance.
“It’s a lot easier if you want to do something spontaneous - just to hop on a bus and within 20 minutes you’re there, whereas with Access Transit you’re there in 45 minutes or so.”
Jim MacDonald, the director of Saskatoon Transit, said this marks a big milestone for the transit service.
Almost 20 per cent of people living in Saskatoon have a disability, according to the city.
“It takes a big worry out of people, especially those that are using strollers or those that are using wheelchairs or scooters. So, this is great for any of those people that have had trouble getting on a bus ever in their life,” said MacDonald.
Chelsea Wisser, the executive director of the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program in Saskatoon, said disability is not a new concept and that this move has been a long time coming.
While this is a great step for the city, Wisser said it will be hard for the transit system to be fully accessible for everyone.
“I think being 100 per cent accessible is a really broad term and I think there’s always going to be needs to some people that it might not reach. But, it’s nice to see that they’re trying to think of as many things as possible.”
Boris agrees and said she’d like Saskatoon Transit to also be accessible for people who are blind and deaf, not just those with mobility challenges.
A complete bus stop audit will be conduced this summer to review all locations and their accessibility.