Manitoba

City councillor considers trading parking pass for Peggo after one-month bus experiment

After riding Winnipeg Transit for one month, a Winnipeg councillor says he's considering making the experiment permanent.

Matt Allard says riding the bus all January was mostly a positive experience

Coun. Matt Allard waits for the bus to work in early January to start his experiment with Winnipeg Transit. (Submitted by Matt Allard)

After riding Winnipeg Transit for one month, a city councillor says he's considering making the experiment permanent.

St. Boniface Coun. Matt Allard pledged to ride the bus for all of January after city council voted in December to raise rates by 25 cents. 

Now nearing the end of his pledge, Allard said he's considering swapping his city hall parking privileges for a Peggo card.

"If you look at it just from a time perspective, taking the car or other modes of transportation generally makes the most sense for me," said Allard, saying he walks or cycles to city hall when the weather is nice.  

"I'm strongly considering trading in my parking benefit downtown for a bus pass, which would have me breaking more or less even. I'm just going to think about that for the next couple days because it does have an impact on my workday and how many meetings I can take, particularly when they're off-site."

Taking the bus has been mostly positive, he said, especially when he realized if he timed it right, he could get to city hall in about the same amount of time as driving.

Coun. Matt Allard rides the bus to city hall. (Matt Allard/Facebook)

He also said he relished being able to work on the bus, or talk to staff or constituents on the phone while walking to or waiting at the bus stop.

"I feel good. I normally drive almost everywhere, and this past month, I've had to walk just a little bit to my bus stops, but just that little bit of walking I think has made a difference, just in terms of my outlook on life and how I feel physically."

But it wasn't all positive. His Peggo card didn't work properly the first time he used it, and occasionally he missed the bus despite an app telling him the bus hadn't left yet. He also rode the bus when it was quite packed, which is uncomfortable, he said.

Still, he was undeterred.

"One of the less dollars-and-cents part of the analysis for me is, you know, I'm meeting people. And I remember reading, I think it's in the [book] Happy City, what makes a city great and what creates friendships is unscheduled, regular random contact," said Allard.

"Just yesterday I was in one of those more packed buses and I had a voter say he would be voting for me, an Island Lakes resident, because of this bus experiment, so even when it's a negative, for a person in my position, sometimes it's a positive."
St. Boniface Coun. Matt Allard pledged to ride the bus for all of January after Winnipeg city council voted in December to raise rates by 25 cents. Now nearing the end of his pledge, Allard said he's considering swapping his city hall parking privileges for a Peggo card. 3:05

With files from Information Radio

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