REGINA - After years of waiting, a transit route will run to the Regina International Airport.
Regina Transit has launched a direct airport bus route, Route 24, to and from the front of the main terminal building. It which will run essentially as an express route from the downtown area to the front of the airport, with a couple of stops along the way.
The service will run initially from Monday to Fridays between the hours of 6 and 9 a.m. on a 20 minute frequency, and again from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. on a 40 minute frequency and 9 a.m. to 12 midnight on a 20 minute frequency.
In all, there will be 29 frequencies a day to and from the airport.
“We’re so thrilled to finally have this new service up and running and it’s been a partnership with the city of Regina over the last four years,” said the airport’s President and CEO James Bogusz to reporters.
The route had been something the airport had been seeking for several years. A new bus route was seen as far preferable to a situation where people accessing the airport were only able to drive or take the cab.
For those relying on transit before, passengers would previously have had to walk all the way from Lewvan Dr. after being dropped off by the bus, a situation Bogusz described as “unacceptable.”
The route is seen as meeting the needs of air passengers as well as employees at the airport and surrounding businesses, including at the hangars as well as Canada Post.
Mayor Sandra Masters said the route should be a help for businesses at the airport and for travellers hoping to get into the city, particularly to downtown.
“We’ve had situations in the past where we’ve had people coming in for conferences during the week and it’s been really difficult to move hundreds at a time,” Masters said.
“And so we think even having the route now, having that responsiveness for special events will also be key to having folks when they arrive have a good experience here.”
The route might have happened even earlier had the COVID-19 pandemic not hit. Any launch plans were put on hold due to the major drop in airport activity during that time.
Now, the route is in place at a time when airport traffic is back on the rebound. The airport estimates it will be back to 93 per cent of prepandemic airline capacity this summer.
“It just made sense to wait until the airport was bouncing back, and now we certainly are,” said Bogusz.
The cost of the route is $348,000 annually. The airport is contributing $100,000 annually over the next three years with the city picking up the tab for the remaining amount.
Bogusz said they planned to “promote the heck” out of the service and make people aware of it, handing out complimentary bus passes to their own staff and tenants so they can try the service. For this week, the bus service is being offered free of charge from May 8 to 12.
“Time will tell, we’re hoping it’s a wild success, but at least now we have this option, a legitimate option to use during the business week.
Mayor Masters said to reporters the city will be monitoring the ridership levels. She said the hope is if there is great uptake that they will expand the service.