City of Regina increases paratransit service

Paratransit services are being increased to ensure better access to recreation. (Kaylyn Whibbs / CTV News)

The City of Regina is increasing paratransit services to make sure residents have better access to recreation destinations.

City Council approved funding for two more paratransit buses and increased service hours in order to make this possible.

Each bus cost $140,000 each, and the additional six thousand service hours equate to $360,000. The total cost of $540,000 was approved in the 2022 budget this year.

“We are very pleased to introduce this program as recreation promotes active and healthy lifestyles, and contributes to quality of life for everyone in our community,” Executive Director of Citizen Services, Kim Onrait, said in a release.

Destinations include parks, concerts, bowling alleys, movies, swimming pools, among others. Riders can choose to bring their own supplies, equipment, or devices and operator assistance will be available.

To meet the criteria to be eligible to use paratransit too must be unable to use conventional transit service at least part of the time.

“This additional service and new guidelines should make it much easier for people to get to where they want to go, when they want to go, so we’re really excited about that and we’re really hoping that increases people with disability’s quality of life in our city,” said Lynette Griffin, manager of paratransit and revenue services for the City of Regina.

The Paratransit Recreation Program also includes additional services such as:

  • Extra service for same-day short notice trips between 9 a.m. and 2:45 p.m.
  • Additional peak-hour service available for trips to and from programs from 7-9 a.m. and 2:45-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.
  • Trip times that will better coincide with the start and end times of recreation programs and leisure activities.
  • Expanded eligibility to include individuals with disabilities who didn’t qualify for paratransit service previously.
  • No additional charge for trips up to five kilometres outside of City limits for recreation and leisure.
  • The availability of recreation charter service from June to August up to 100 kilometres out of Regina city limits, at half the charter rate.
  • The option to book trips outside of service hours for recreation and leisure trips provided that the standard of two trips per hour is met.

Dylan Morin uses transit every day, accessing both conventional transit and paratransit.

He said it is fantastic to see this program come into place.

“I’ve been pushing for this, I’ve also been pushing for increased Sunday service for both paratransit and conventional transit, so it’s definitely a step in the right direction,” said Morin.

Terina Shaw, councillor for Ward 7, campaigned on the need to increase sporting activities for people with disabilities, marginalized or seniors, a cause that is personal for her having raised a daughter with a disability.

Emotional, she said, getting to this point was a long road.

“To see this come through and have this available to people, absolutely astonishing, I love it,” said Shaw.

Fellow Ward 4 councillor, Lori Bresciani, said while it’s important to have recreation and sports available, paratransport plays a vital role in making sure people can access these programs.

“I actually see it as a lifeline for many of these individuals to participate in life,” said Bresciani.

To book a trip, residents can either email or call 306-777-7007.