Winnipeg Transit has unveiled a list of of 22 routes that may see a service reduction in 2018 as part of plans to cut back on costs.
In a budget presentation posted on the city's website, Winnipeg Transit identifies the routes that are candidates for service reductions next year.
The complete list of routes facing cuts is as follows:
- 44 Grey.
- 45 Talbot.
- 56 St. Boniface-Downtown.
- 66 Grant.
- 71 Arlington.
- 76 University of Manitoba-St. Vital Centre.
- 79 Charleswood.
- 82 Grace Hospital-Unicity.
- 83 Murray Park-Strauss-Grace Hospital-Unicity.
- 85 Kildonan Place-All Seasons-Whellams.
- 87 Crossroads Station-South Transcona.
- 89 North Transcona-Regent-Kildonan Place.
- 92 Crossroads Station-Lakeside Meadows.
- 93 St. Vital Centre-South St. Vital.
- 95 Polo Park-Shaftesbury Park-Pan Am Pool-Riverview.
- 97 Fife-Main-Point Douglas.
- 98 Grace Hospital-Westdale-Unicity.
- 99 Misericordia/Windermere-Downtown.
- 101 DART St. Vital Centre-St. Amant-Plaza Drive.
- 102 DART Southdale Centre-Island Lakes.
- 109 DART Killarney-St. Norbert.
- 110 DART St. Boniface .
Winnipeg Transit is in the process of determining how many of these routes will be cut and if so, in what manner.
"After the completion of a service review and preliminary scheduling, the department will come forward with recommendations which outline where service will be rationalized," Winnipeg Transit says in its budget presentation.
"The target implementation date for service changes is June 2018."
Transit fares are also expected to rise next year by 25 cents.
The moves are being made to combat an $8.3-million drop in expected funding Mayor Brian Bowman blames on the provincial government's decision to stop funding half of transit's operating costs that are not covered by fares.
Winnipeg Transit expects to save $1 million from the route reductions alone, its budget presentation says.
Council public works chair Marty Morantz (Charleswood-Tuxedo-Whyte Ridge) said the reductions amount to a difficult decision.
"What the department has done is try to prioritize these route rationalizations based on the lowest ridership possible. The reason for that is to make sure that we have the least impact on citizens that are customers of transit," Morantz said during a break in a special meeting of the public works committee.
Zanna Joyce, vice-chair of the lobby group Functional Transit, said she wished transit offered more of an explanation for its decision to choose the 22 routes in question.
"I think that would relieve the stress," she said, blaming the province for its decision to end the old agreement to cover half of transit's non-fare-supported operating costs.
"It's massively difficult for the city to deal with sudden change," Joyce said. "But at the same time, we have the opportunity to think about innovation and think about whether or not there's ways of transforming the system."
'We're getting screwed'
Transit users that CBC News spoke to Friday were unanimously opposed to the proposed changes.
Sunshine Teologo, who takes the 44 on a daily basis, was surprised to hear the news.
"That's very worrying," she said. "It will really bother me because that's the only bus that we have near our house, so what will happen to me now going to downtown and to other places?"
Judy Simoneau says she takes the 45 about once a week to get to her daughter's house on Talbot Avenue. She said it'll mean a lot of extra walking if the route is among the cuts.
She also worries about how people in the area will be able to get their shopping done.
"How would you get to Kildonan Place if you live on Talbot, how would you get there? You'd have to walk all the way over to catch the 47," she said. "I don't think that would be good."
Andy Mezey said the 45 is one of a few buses he can take to get to and from work and says if Transit does cut service on the route, officials should plan for increased ridership on other buses.
"I think it would hurt other people quite a bit," he said. "If they discontinue it they should make other busses pick up the slack on the route."
John Berens takes the bus every day, and although he is opposed to losing service on his route and the proposed 25 cent fare hike, he says there isn't much he — or anyone else — can do about it.
"We have no say in the matter anyway, it's up to city hall and it's up to Winnipeg Transit," he said when CBC News caught up with him on the 45 Friday. "It's up to Bowman and it's up to Transit, so we're getting screwed, that's what it is."