Save STC is lobbying and working daily with hundreds of supporters to stop the shuttering of STC. A primary reason is that safety and accessibility are at the heart of STC. STC has an impeccable safety record and that is unlikely to be replaced by any private company trying to take over the essential public transportation service.
The Highway Traffic Board received applications from several private companies to take over passenger and freight services once STC closes. But given that the HTB was set up to run STC and it appears that they do not have the regulations that would scrutinize a private company in the same way, it is a cause for worry cited by the group.
One of Save STC's spokespersons, Cindy Hanson, says, “Fully 45% of STC buses are fitted for wheelchairs; its drivers have first-aid, CPR, and de-escalation training to deal with emergencies; buses are equipped with GPS and Zonar electronic tracking systems; mechanics have Red Seal certifications, and so much more. The idea that this can be replaced by a company that advertises for drivers using facebook pages worries her and she thinks it should worry the HTB if they really are concerned about safety.”
To date the province has not agreed to conduct a value audit and therefore the real costs of shuttering the service including safety costs remain unknown. Save STC spokesperson, JoAnn Jaffe argues, “This puts Sask citizens in vulnerable and compromised positions.”
Save STC believes that people will die as a result of the wind-down of STC. For those who live in the North and have no access to affordable transportation, the loss of STC means more women and men will be exposed to the danger of hitchhiking and vulnerable to the cold of winter. Also jeopardized will be the patients who need to travel for treatment, but who can no longer afford the trip.
The group is encouraging Saskatchewan citizens to voice their concerns to their MLAs, to request a citizen’s audit through the internet, to attend upcoming rallies, and to object to applications by private companies trying to take over STC routes.
A PRESS CONFERENCE TO DISCUSS THIS FURTHER WILL BE HELD FRIDAY IN SASKATOON, MAY 12 at 11 AM at The Stand Community Organizing Centre – 615 Main St., Saskatoon/Treaty 6 Territory