Preliminary 2020-23 multi-year balanced budgets propose spine and feeder investments and free Transit for children under 12

Released: March 6, 2020 at 7:39 p.m.

Winnipeg, MB – As part of the preliminary 2020-23 multi-year balanced budgets, investment into a new “spine and feeder” transit service model would transform Winnipeg Transit’s service in the south portion of the city, and starting in 2021, children under 12 would be able to ride Winnipeg Transit for free.

The preliminary multi-year balanced budgets propose an investment of over $13 million over the next four years for a new “spine and feeder” model that would provide fast, high frequency and efficient service for passengers in south Winnipeg. The Southwest Rapid Transitway (SWT) investments include 28 new, 60 foot articulated buses and seven new bus rapid transit stations along the SWT.

The multi-year investments into the city-wide transit network, including the SWT, will include changes to current routes, addition of new routes, service adjustments on selected routes, and the elimination of redundant routes. The combined new service plan on a full year schedule will add nearly 40,000 service hours to the overall city network.

Starting in 2021, children under the age of 12 would be able to ride Winnipeg Transit at no cost. This would help families by eliminating financial barriers to public transit while encouraging the next generation to choose public transit.

“As Winnipeg grows, it will increasingly be important to have a modern public transit system and that’s why Winnipeg Transit remains a top priority in the multi-year balanced budgets,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “Significant provincial funding reductions to public transit over the last number of years have presented the City with difficult decisions but the multi-year balanced budgets provide a road toward continued improvements.”

A further $1.3 million is proposed to be invested in Transit Plus in 2021 to eliminate a barrier that currently requires the origin and destination of a trip to be within 500 meters of an established bus route, a key recommendation of the Ombudsman Report. With over $2.5 million over the next four years, several other key recommendations are proposed for Transit Plus stemming from the Manitoba Ombudsman Report from 2019.

Winnipeg continues to have among the lowest transit fares compared to other major Canadian cities. The preliminary 2020-2023 multi-year balanced budgets take strong steps forward for enhancing affordability for residents who need it most. A phased-in implementation of a low income bus pass is proposed to start on May 1, 2020 further enhancing the service’s affordability and accessibility.

The low income pass would provide eligible adults to qualify for a 30% discount on the cost of a full fare adult monthly pass in May 2020, a 40% discount in April 2021, and a 50% discount starting in April 2022. This would allow Winnipeg Transit to phase in the cost of this initiative over three years while assessing what additional resources might be required within the broader context of the forthcoming Winnipeg Transit Master Plan.

Transit’s overall operating budget (net of capital expenditures) is proposed to increase by an average of 2.5% over the next four years, slightly higher than its target of 2%. The multi-year balanced budgets do not propose a renewal of the UPass once the current agreements end in May of 2020. Reducing the number of buses purchased from 240 to 180 over the next six years and the discontinuation of the free downtown spirit service allowed Transit to meet expenditure targets without significantly impacting service.

With the new Southwest Rapid Transitway opening in the spring, and significant investments into transit safety, Winnipeg Transit is building for the future.

The multi-year balanced budgets build on existing investments in transit safety including:

  • $3.15 million to purchase and install bus operator safety shields for the entire bus fleet;
  • $1.1 million to modernize bus communication;
  • $65,000 to equip transit inspectors with protective vests; and
  • $100,000 for a study to support a long-term transit security plan that considers expanding the powers of transit special constables.

“Last year saw Council make important decisions about the future of Winnipeg Transit,” said Mayor Brian Bowman. “The multi-year balanced budgets show how decisions about Winnipeg Transit will be budgeted over the next four years.”

Was this information helpful?

How can we make this web page better?

Information collected will be used to improve our website. Do not use this form to submit a request for service or information because it will not be forwarded to departments for response. To submit a request for service or information, contact 311.

This form is not intended to collect personal information; however, any personal information you choose to include in your comments is collected by the City of Winnipeg under the authority of section 36(1)(b) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the purpose of improving our website and will not be used or disclosed for any other purposes, except as authorized by law. Contact the Corporate Access and Privacy Officer by mail (City Clerk’s Department, Susan A. Thompson Building, 510 Main Street, Winnipeg MB, R3B 1B9) or by telephone (311) if you have any questions about the collection of this information.