ATU Local 615 President Darcy Pederson has been calling on Saskatoon Transit to retrotfit the City Of Saskatoon buses with protect

February 1, 2023

The Honourable Scott Moe
Premier of Saskatchewan
226 Legislative Building
Regina, SK  S4S 0B3


Local union president says more security is still needed for workers and passengers.

City issues call for last safety barriers for Saskatoon buses

Four days after Saskatoon city councillors unanimously voted for an investigation into why there have been hundreds of service and route cancellations this winter, the city has confirmed one big change in the transit department so far.

According to a brief statement from transit director Jim McDonald: “Effective March 14, 2022, the Maintenance Manager of Saskatoon Transit will be moving to a different position within the department.

Saskatoon’s transit union is signalling a growing concern with the public transit system.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 615 president Darcy Pederson said on any given day, there can be anywhere from a few route service cancellations to dozens of them.

That has been going on for the last few months, something he said he has never seen or experienced before.

“I believe that it’s due to lack of preventative maintenance on the buses and getting the parts in for the buses that need to be fixed,” he said.

The union representing Saskatoon Transit workers is criticizing the service’s management in light of frequent disruptions this winter.

“Transit has become completely unreliable,” wrote a spokesperson for Amalgamated Transit Union Local 615 in a media release issued on Tuesday.

Late last month, Saskatoon Transit director James McDonald told city council that a spate of route cancellations during the coldest months of the year were due to a backlog of buses needing repairs, coupled with a shortage of parts.

Widespread cancellations and disruptions with Saskatoon Transit are a result of poor maintenance and a lack of investment, according to the head of Canada’s largest transit union.

The city bus service has become completely unreliable, according to Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Canada national president John Di Nino. On some days, there are dozens of cancellations.

The union representing Saskatoon's transit drivers is calling on the city to bring in security officers to enforce the mandatory mask rule.

The union representing Saskatoon’s transit drivers wants the city to bring in security officers to enforce the mandatory mask rule.

SASKATOON -- Saskatoon’s transit union would like to see help for drivers who encounter riders not willing to comply with the City of Saskatoon's mask mandate on city buses.

"Our operators feel like they have been left to fend for themselves," said Amalgamated Transit Union Local 615 president and business agent Darcy Pederson. "They’re stressed out, tensions are high, we’re getting worn out."

If someone who isn’t wearing a mask boards a bus in Saskatoon, riders shouldn’t look to their driver for help.

Despite it being mandatory to wear a face mask on city transit, the lack of enforcement by operators is a matter of safety.

“Operator assaults are at an all-time high,” said Amalgamated Transit Union Local 615 president/business agent Darcy Pederson. “We don’t want to put our people at risk.”

According to a Saskatoon Transit statement shared by the City of Saskatoon, transit operators in the city do not enforce mask compliance for safety reasons.