City says equity a priority in Regina’s new Transit Master Plan

“It is essential to recognize and respond to the diverse needs of all users when planning for transit,” notes the Transit Master Plan approved by council Wednesday.

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“It is essential to recognize and respond to the diverse needs of all users when planning for transit,” the plan says. “Through the engagement process, community members emphasize the importance of safety while on transit vehicles and at bus stops to ensure that transit is available to everyone.”

Passenger safety and well-being will be a high priority while planning for transit and neighborhood hubs, the plan notes, which is why the city will be creating a new position of Peace Officer.

Transit peace officers will be trained to respond to security-related incidents, conduct mobile and foot patrols and investigate complaints.

“A visible staff presence can serve as a deterrent and improve customer and employee safety,” the plan states. Similar to the Downtown Community Support Team, it is thought that peace officers can help resolve issues or help people in need before police are called.

But equity is also being considered through a staffing and education lens, not just a design aspect of a new transit system. Through the plan, the city is looking to expand the current Travel Training program, which provides one-on-one training for people with intellectual disabilities to learn how to use transit. The expansion would include conventional transit users including seniors and newcomers.

The program is provided in partnership with 4to40, an organization that connects people with intellectual disabilities with employment, and Creative Options Regina (COR), which also provides disability services. Some of the trainers hired for the program include those with disabilities.

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“There are opportunities here to not only provide a valuable service to the citizens, but also to partner and employ underrepresented communities,” said Benjamin Morris, creative director of COR studio and the one who oversees the program, said as he voiced his support for the Transit Master Plan on Wednesday.

The plan also encourages the city to “continue to hire and women in the workplace.”

jackerman@postmedia.com

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