Manitoba pledges $13M to help struggling transit systems in 5 cities

Manitoba plans to help five cities struggling with reduced transit ridership with money to cover operating shortfalls.

Winnipeg Transit alone faces $17M shortfall this year

Winnipeg Transit faces a $17-million shortfall this year. Manitoba is helping the city cover transit operating shortfalls in 2023. (Trevor Brine/CBC)

Manitoba plans to help five cities struggling with reduced transit ridership with money to cover operating shortfalls.

The provincial government announced Wednesday it's setting aside $13.4 million in the 2023 budget to help Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson, Selkirk and Flin Flon handle the financial impact of reduced transit ridership.

The province did not specify how much money each city will receive, but Winnipeg is expected to get about 98 per cent of the funds, based on previous allocations.

As of Dec. 1, Winnipeg Transit was on course to post a $17.2-million operating deficit at the end of 2022. Increasing diesel costs and reduced ridership because of the pandemic were among the factors cited in a report to city council's finance committee.

City council finance chair Jeff Browaty (North Kildonan) said the revenue picture for transit remains uncertain for 2023, even as transit passenger volumes have bounced to the point where revenue on busier weeks is roughly 80 per cent of what it was before the pandemic started.

"We're starting to see some ridership numbers that are coming back from COVID, but we're also faced with tremendous pressures when it comes to even the cost of fuel," he said in an interview.

Passing on the cost of diesel-fuel cost inflation to riders would result in a fare hike of 30 to 35 cents a passenger, Browaty said.

"We're not doing that, and this provincial money certainly does help," he said.

The provincial aid comes on top of $20.7 million in federal funding for transit systems in Manitoba, announced earlier this year.

That money has yet to materialize, Browaty said.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Account Holder

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?