SASKATOON — Saskatoon Transit continues to deliver service despite worldwide supply chain shortages putting a strain on its service, according to the city.
“The ability to source and obtain parts in a timely manner because of the parts shortages related to the pandemic and other recent events, globally and nationally, have been major contributing factors to getting buses repaired and quickly back into service,” said Transit Director Jim McDonald,
McDonald says those challenges and the increased probability of mechanical breakdowns with an aging fleet, differentiates this winter from other winters with prolonged extreme cold weather events.
“Fortunately, the extreme cold weather has subsided, but it will take a few days to address the backlog of mechanical repairs.”
Saskatoon Transit, on average, has been about five to 10 buses short during weekdays. Transit officials say they are aware service cuts of any kind have a significant impact on those who rely on the services. The team at Transit considers all options when required to make service reductions and decisions are based on minimizing impacts to riders, officials say.
The service impact is a reduction in some neighbourhood frequency, but no routes are completely cancelled and service to high schools is covered, however, riders may need to take alternate routes.
Solutions to get more buses on the road:
- Buses are being sent to third-party garages to add to maintenance resources.
- Buses with long-term defects or parts that are not available or delayed are being used to fix other buses.
- Check engine light calls are being investigated and sent back on the road more quickly.
- Issues that do not involve heating ventilation and air conditioning, brakes or steering are quickly checked and sent back on the road if it is safe to do so. HVAC, brakes and steering problems that need repair are booked for a mechanic as soon as possible, however fixing the issue is contingent on parts availability.
- Working with nearby transit properties to determine what parts can be accessed from them. Transit has also been working with parts distributors to get as many parts as possible.
- To ensure more parts are on hand, maximum/minimum stock levels have been changed for high-demand parts or for parts that take longer to obtain.
- Maintenance staff have been working overtime.
Tips for Transit riders:
Service alerts are posted to the transit app and Google Maps Transit as soon as possible, however riders are encouraged to check for service alerts one hour before they travel. Riders can “pin” the routes taken most often in the transit app to receive push notifications about service disruptions.
Alerts are also posted every morning and afternoon to SaskatoonTransit.ca/service-alerts and Twitter (@StoonTransit), with periodic updates as the situation changes. Riders can also call the Customer Service Centre at 306-975-3100 for updates (7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Monday to Friday).
If there is a service disruption on your route, riders can use the trip planning function in the transit app or Google Maps to find an alternate route. Simply type in where you are and where you want to go.