Manitoba·CITY HALL

City committee endorses free transit for kids, enhanced security on Winnipeg buses

Free transit for young kids kids and expanding the powers of transit constables were among dozens of items considered by a City of Winnipeg committee Tuesday.

Councillors also approved Isabel Street intersection changes after fatal crash

A proposal to provide free transit to kids under 12 will be considered during the 2020 budget process after a decision from the city's public works committee on Tuesday. (Warren Kay/CBC)

Free transit for young kids and expanding the powers of transit constables were among dozens of items considered by a City of Winnipeg committee Tuesday.

The city's public works committee voted unanimously to refer the proposal to allow kids under 12 to ride Winnipeg Transit for free to the city's 2020 budget process. 

Winnipeg's public service estimates the program will cost Winnipeg $2.4 million.

Coun. Matt Allard (St. Boniface), chair of the committee, said he was pleased councillors supported the plan.

"I think the transit should be free for kids under 12, given that they need to be supervised," he said.

Expanded powers for transit constables

The committee also moved forward Tuesday with expanding the powers of Winnipeg Transit constables to include the ability to detain and arrest passengers.

The civil service looked at how other municipalities provide security on board public transit, and found other similar-sized cities hire security officers or police constables who can arrest passengers.

The committee accepted the civil service's report as information Tuesday and is referring it to the transit advisory committee for input. 

"I'm hoping to get a green light so we can get better safety on buses," said Coun. Allard. 

Any expansion of the powers would require provincial consultation, the city says.

Intersections get safety improvements

The committee also decided Tuesday an intersection where a child was killed earlier this year will see safety improvements.

Four-year-old Galila Habtegergish was struck and killed by a vehicle at Isabel Street and Alexander Avenue in March. She and her mother were crossing the street toward Dufferin School at the time.

After the girl's death, Coun. Vivian Santos (Point Douglas) put forward a motion to look at an enhanced crosswalk at the Isabel and Alexander intersection, along with traffic lights at the crosswalk at Ross and Isabel, a couple of blocks south.

The city's public service agreed and recommended both changes.

On Tuesday, the public works committee approved those recommendations.

Along with the safety improvements, the city also plans to do a pedestrian count at both intersections and report back in the spring or summer 2020 with the results.

About the Author

Laura Glowacki is a reporter based in Winnipeg. Before moving to Manitoba in 2015, she worked as an associate producer for CBC's Metro Morning in Toronto. Find her on Twitter @glowackiCBC and reach her by email at laura.glowacki@cbc.ca.

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