Ask the average Winnipeg transit user to come up with one suggested improvement to the system, and you’ll get a list. On Sunday afternoon, a group of transit users gathered at City Hall to give voice to some of those suggestions.
"We're frustrated with the lack of accommodation for the average Winnipegger," said Nicholas Syrenne, one of the rally organizers. "We have an increased amount of bus ridership, we have an increased population base, but a stagnant bus fleet."
Syrenne said bus stop wait times need to be addressed — something he believes could be remedied by adding more buses to the city's fleet.
“We need to see some action here in terms of getting more buses," said Syrenne. "We just want more of them. That's something simple that I think a lot of people have rallied around. We just want to have more people getting picked up, faster.”
At times, Syrenne said he has waited 45 minutes for a bus to show up, in the winter, and in the end it never showed.
"There are times where I am stuck in limbo outside, my phone freezes," said Syrenne, adding that even when he has done his due diligence and checked bus schedules online, he's ended up waitng for long stretches of time.
The rally wasn't meant as a slight toward city bus drivers and other employees working with Winnipeg transit, Syrenne said.
"There's a lot of things that can be out of their control," said Syrenne. "Circumstances change and I realize that, but there should be another bus that comes at a decent time to accommodate the fact that we live in a climate that just is miserable most of the year."
He said he hopes city officials look at the current system and consider making it more accessible more often.
Joseph Kornelsen, with Functional Transit Winnipeg, said resources earmarked for rapid transit expansion could be put to better use.
Winnipeg Transit is nearing its maximum ridership capacity, Kornelsen said, and he, too, believes adding more buses to the fleet would lead to less crowded rides.
“The cost of the southwest corridor, if it were put toward bus frequency, would have a massive impact on Winnipeg Transit’s buses and it could lead to a much improved transit system for all Winnipeggers."
Kornelsen said on the whole he feels transit does a good job of serving daytime commuters during the week. What it doesn't do well, in his opinion, is provide quality service during the evening or on weekends.
He also believes the city doesn't provide enough accessibility or encentive for people just looking to take the bus.
“A majority of trips that Winnipeggers make are for shopping and leisure activities, so we believe our transit system and our transit network needs to meet those diverse needs,” he said.
Kornelson would like to see transit hours extended well into the evening during Saturday and Sunday. He believes after the afternoon peak trails off, there isn't as many opportunities to catch a bus on weekends.