2016 Approved Budget Impact – Transit in South Winnipeg-St. Norbert Ward

Transit

A significant investment in transit was made in the City’s 2016 Approved Budget – but there are also some significant challenges Winnipeg Transit is facing.  In my earlier post on the PRELIMINARY budget, I prepared a detailed overview to help you understand the funding and challenges:  SEE HERE  

I encourage residents to VIEW THE VIDEO of the presentation by Mr. Dave Wardrop, Director of Winnipeg Transit, on the 2016 Capital Budget.  Mr. Wardrop begins his presentation about 20 minutes into the video, and speaks for about 1.5 hours. This discussion, held with the Standing Policy Committee of Infrastructure Renewal and Public works, provides an excellent overview of the emission control challenges faced by Winnipeg Transit.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT

I want to extend a HUGE thank you to Mr. David G. Sanders, Chair of the Bridgwater Lakes Neighbourhood Association, for preparing such a detailed presentation and for giving up two mornings (7+ hours)  to present to Winnipeg’s City Councillors.  I encourage all Bridgwater residents to review David’s very informative presentation on the need for transit in Bridgwater Lakes.

I would also like to thank:

  • Mr. Paul Holden, President and CEO of Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology, for his Letter of Support
  • Mr. Ian Phillips, Government Relations Manager of Shaw Communications, for his Letter of Support

 

DECISION BY CITY COUNCIL

The decision made by City Council was not to immediately add new bus routes in 2016, due to ongoing maintenance issues and the need for fleet stability.

BUT on a positive front (and again, SEE HERE for a detailed overview of Transit):

  • The 2016 budget allows for ‘new route’ buses
  • The Bridgwater Lakes/South Pointe route is second on the priority list
  • 24 used buses (which don’t have emissions control issues) are being added to the fleet for U-Pass expansion
  • IF the maintenance program continues to improve, brand new buses will be purchased (2015 & 2016 budget)
  • The cost of adding the Bridgwater Lakes/South Pointe route is manageable and could be absorbed into the 2016 budget

So, in summary, I am optimistic that we may get the expansion for 2016  – but there are many variables to monitor over the coming months.   I recognize this is extremely frustrating, and have provided you with a volume of information to help explain the situation.  Globally, the transit industry is in a period of transition. Diesel buses are old technologies with stringent Federally mandated controls that make them complicated and fragile. But at the same time, the technology of electric and hydrogen is still in early stages of development and has not yet reached a ‘fleet level’ of reliability and cost effectiveness. I could compare this to how CD’s have faded away, small drugstores have evolved into super drugstores, and the current situation with taxis and Uber.

 

HANDI-TRANSIT SCHEDULING SYSTEM

A $1.4 to $1.5 million Handi-Transit Scheduling System is the 2016 budget.  This will update Handi-Transit’s scheduling system so it can maintain basic and medical client information, schedule clients according to specialized need, optimize available resources, communicate with drivers and clients in real-time, and allow for immediate scheduling or dispatching when hourly cancellations create an inefficient use of available resources.

 

 

 

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