REGINA – The Hawkstone neighbourhood in the city’s north-end has parks, shopping and development, but was lacking public transit.

Resident Jill Straker wants to see buses coming to her area, even though she has to drive to work.

“It would be nice to have the service to give people the option, instead of having to drive,” she said.

Alex Tuzkoe is in the same boat, “I have a car but if I didn’t have one I would use it for sure.”

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They were happy to hear bus service is coming to Hawkstone starting Monday. The Route 16 bus from Lakeridge will now service the eastern part of Rochdale Boulevard.

“It’s about time that they have service out here. It’s getting more and more populated. The more cars that are coming in here, it’s getting kind of congested,” said Straker.

Before, residents from the Hawkstone neighbourhood would have to walk at least three blocks to the nearest bus stop, in a shopping complex.

Resident Arsh Dhaliwal said she doesn’t mind the walk in the summer, when it gets cold, she’s not too fond of it.

“In the winter-time, it’s so hard to walk,” she said. “This is 10 minutes and it feels like 20.”

The city decided to expand service based on feedback from residents, but wanted to wait until it made business sense.

“We look at the density of the areas, before we provide transit service to those areas. It has to meet 1,000 residents per kilometre of route. Then we look at introducing services if resources are available,” said Nathan Luhning with Regina Transit.

Hawkstone isn’t the only newer neighbourhood that will see buses rolling down the streets. Westerra, the Southeast Lands and Greens on Gardiner are also on Regina Transit’s radar.

“Having our transit service accessible to all residents is a priority for us. If we can get into those newer neighbourhoods, we can develop habits early on so people can rely on transit throughout their lifetimes,” Luhning explained.

Officials will monitor ridership of new routes closely for the first year to make sure people are taking the bus.

“We do have standards. If it doesn’t reach certain standards, we may re-evaluate the service and change it to make it more attractive to customers,” Luhning said.