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One year later: Saskatchewan union wants audit of defunct government bus service
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, May 31, 2018 2:59PM CST
Last Updated Thursday, May 31, 2018 6:40PM CST
REGINA -- A public-sector union in Saskatchewan wants the province to take stock of where things stand a year after the government shut down its bus service.
The Saskatchewan Transportation Co. was shuttered by the Saskatchewan Party government in an austerity budget brought in to help fight what was a $1.3-billion deficit.
The government said it was costing too much to keep the money-losing Crown bus service on the road and suggested private companies would step in.
The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union says it's more than a year later and thousands of people are still in need of public transportation.
President Bob Bymoen says despite government assurances, people in isolated areas are forced to rely on family and friends or take taxis to get to medical appointments.
Premier Scott Moe says the government hasn't stopped looking for ways to provide bus transportation, but has no plans to bring in a provincially funded service.
"We're continually working with any private-sector partners that may have the opportunity to provide services here in the province of Saskatchewan, and there are some that are providing that service," he said Thursday.
The union would like what it calls a financial and social audit of the costs involved in shutting the company and associated with alternate transportation for patients, freight and blood services.
"The people of Saskatchewan deserve to have full disclosure on the implications of shutting down such a vital service as the STC,"
Bymoen said in a news release.
"The ideology of the Sask. Party to rely on private companies to help residents maintain mobility around this province has been an utter failure," he said.
"The people of Saskatchewan deserve a public transportation company so that everyone in this province can access services, visit family and friends and receive proper health care regardless of location."
The union also pointed out that the government has yet to release agreements with purchasers of the bus company's assets.