Winnipeg poised to offer free Wi-Fi on a dozen buses next year
$300K pilot project would fulfil 2014 mayoral campaign promise
Mayor Brian Bowman tried to check off one of his 2014 campaign pledges by endorsing a Winnipeg Transit Wi-Fi pilot project.
A request to spend $300,000 in leftover cash from 2016 on a one-year pilot project that would offer free Wi-Fi on 12 buses will be considered by council's innovation committee on Friday.
The cash comes from the unspent balance of last year's innovation capital fund, a pot of money set aside for projects that employ new technology or make city processes more efficient.
Important for inner-city
Council innovation chair Cindy Gilroy (Daniel McIntyre) said free WiFi on buses would improve safety for residents of her inner-city ward.
She also said WiFi may alleviate problems with the Peggo electronic-fare-payment system, which requires buses to download data in transit garages instead of wirelessly.
Earlier Monday, as a report recommending the project was made public, the mayor's office endorsed the plan in a news release. Bowman promised during the 2014 election campaign to offer free Wi-Fi on buses.
The request will not compete with other proposals that go before council's innovation committee on Friday in a meeting that resembles the format of reality TV show Dragon's Den.
Once a year, councillors on the innovation committee listen to proposals from city departments interested in accessing $1 million worth of funds set aside in the innovation capital fund.
On Friday, the committee will consider 16 new pitches with requests for funds totalling almost $1.9 million. The pitches include:
- $480,000 for making old city buildings more energy efficient.
- $390,000 for creating a lane-closure app and website.
- $197,000 to purchase two electric cars for the city fleet and install two Level 3 charging stations.
- $160,000 to create an alarm-permit management system.
- $150,000 to find efficiencies in city capital processes.
- $150,000 to create a 311 chatbot.
- $129,000 to buy and install LED emergency-exit signs.
- $43,000 to create interactive software for public engagement.
- $40,000 to valuate city assets properly for potential sponsorship.
- $37,000 to buy a drone to identify places for the insect-control branch to apply larvicides.
- $37,000 to investigate the potential for solar power cells on the south side of Pan Am Pool.
- $37,000 to investigate heat recovery at the St. James pool and ice rink.
- $12,000 to buy a thermal imager for the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service drone.
- $10,000 to continue composting at city hall.
The committee can accept or reject any of the pitches.