Regional transit bus line suspends service

A passenger bus service linking Martensville, Warman and Saskatoon that started with much fanfare in May has quietly suspended operations, at least temporarily.
AV Transit, a subsidiary of Saskatoon-based AV Shuttle, ceased operating its regional service effective August 4.
AV Shuttle General Manager Kelly Rapko said AV Transit is hoping to re-start the service in September if it can “get a monthly commitment from 20 riders.”
“AV Transit has been forced to suspend service between Martensville, Warman and Saskatoon,” said Rapko on Thursday, August 17. “While the interest in a regional transit service was very high, unfortunately the ridership was very low.”
Rapko said the company is trying to sell monthly memberships for September.
“If we can get monthly commitments from 20 riders, we will be able to keep our shuttle on the road,” said Rapko.
Parent company AV Shuttle also provides special needs transportation and medical courier within Saskatoon.
AV Shuttle officials notified Warman and Martensville city officials in early August that the company had dropped all its week-day routes effective immediately.
AV Transit began service with a 22-passenger shuttle bus in May of this year, but later switched to a more modest passenger van.
Martensville Economic Development Officer Dillon Shewchuk confirmed at a Martensville City Council meeting on Tuesday, August 15 that AV Shuttle had discontinued its regional bus service.
In his report to council, Shewchuk said the company cited lack of ridership as the reason for the decision to drop the service.
Martensville City Councillor Darren MacDonald said it was “unfortunate” that the bus service decided to pack it in.
But MacDonald believes the market still exists in the region for some type of regular inter-city transit system.
“Hopefully at some point it will become viable for a service provider,” he said.
Rapko said the initial venture was possible due to financial backing from AV Shuttle owner David Gersher, who also owns Landa Autobody and Saskatoon Limousine Direct.
The three cities and several businesses also were helpful in setting things up initially, said Rapko.