While every one else is at work, shopping or attending personal errands, Patrick Fairbairn is pounding the pavement, looking for support.
© Herald photo by Jodi Schellenberg
Patrick Fairbairn took to the streets again on Friday to encourage others to support his petition for better transit service.
Fairbairn now has over 200 signatures on his petition, which asks for better bus maintenance, extended hours and the city to run their own transit service, and he is still looking for more support.
On Friday morning, Fairbairn started out at Walmart asking for support. As they have the right to do since it is private property, Walmart managers told Fairbairn he had to leave.
“I was pretty disappointed getting kicked off Walmart,” Fairbairn said. “I wasn’t hurting anybody or stopping anybody -- people were approaching me.”
Since all he wants is better bus service - something he said would help Walmart by bringing them more customers -- he didn’t understand the reasoning behind asking him to leave.
“I was going to go to Safeway and Superstore, but I feel I might get the same reception there,” Fairbairn said. “I would like to go to SIAST but first I’m going to phone them and see if they will allow me on their property.
“I don’t understand what the problem is and I don’t understand the fear,” he added. “Nobody is going to get hurt here -- we just want to create a positive transit environment for everybody in the future. That is all I’m looking for.”
Since he didn’t want to cause trouble on private property, Fairbairn turned towards Central Avenue, where he spent the afternoon walking up and down the street with a sign on his chest asking people to support the petition.
“This is starting to raise a lot of awareness -- I have people stopping me on the street up and down Central,” Fairbairn said. “One gentleman was kind enough to call me over from his truck. People want to have a decent service, that’s what this is about.”
Close to when children were being let out of school, Fairbairn said he would be headed down to the main bus depot to see if more people would sign his petition. He will also be continuing to ride the bus routes, looking for supporters.
Fairbairn doesn’t understand some of what the city has been reporting regarding the cost of what the extended bus service may cost.
“In the paper, I understand Keri Sexsmith is quoting some figure from somewhere about what it is going to cost for additional service,” Fairbairn noted. “I don’t know where she got that from out of the blue. They have no idea what it is going to cost. They have never done it.”
He will be attending the Monday council meeting and making the most of his allotted time.
“I am finding it a little disheartening but I’ll keep plugging away,” Fairbairn said. “The mayor and some of his colleagues should be transparent and should be prepared to work with us, not get in our face with negative comments.
“It doesn’t have to be a negative situation at all,” he added. “We want it to be a win-win for everybody. The bottom line is most of us who take the bus … are taxpayers.”
He is willing to get help from anyone willing to give it and said he is “only one guy” who “doesn’t drive.”
“I think if I can get some real support from people out there, the idea I have is if anyone wants to participate in this petition alongside us, we can get together, do extra packages, maybe distribute them throughout the city,” Fairbairn said. “I’m looking down the road, not just today.”
Fairbairn said he is still prepared to go to formal protest after Monday’s council meeting if necessary.
“If (Moose Jaw) can do it since the 1950s, why can’t we do it?” he asked. “That is my main argument.”
He encourages anyone interested in helping with the petition to call him at (306) 922-2976 or (306) 930-8386.