Winnipeg Transit riders adapt to reduced service with bus shortage

Winnipeggers are getting used to a new transit reality — fewer buses and some longer waits.

Service reductions, caused by a bus maintenance backlog, caught people off guard this week

CBC 2:07

Winnipeggers are getting used to a new transit reality — fewer buses and some longer waits — but City Coun. Janice Lukes says the short notice on the bus shortage shows the cracks in the city's communication system. 

A group of relatively new councillors as well as administrative staff have left gaps in how things should work, she told CBC News. 

"It is challenging working in this environment of change and getting people on the same page and getting the communication flowing. The communication is not flowing, and I've talked about this before, it's very challenging to get information. This kind of information is critical, it is a core service," Lukes said Friday.

The sudden service reduction, caused by a bus maintenance backlog, caught a lot of people off guard on Thursday morning. But by Friday morning, most seemed to have adapted.

"I'll just take a different bus, work a little bit later," said Patrick Nakoneshny, who was waiting for a morning bus on Graham Avenue.

Service reductions on dozens of routes were announced late Wednesday, just as tens of thousands of students were returning to classes for the new school year.

The bus shortage demonstrates backward priorities, Joe Kornelson told CBC News. Kornelson works with Functional Transit Winnipeg, a citizen group advocating for more city buses.

"The city needs to buy more buses, buy more buses and operate more buses," he said. 

John Callahan, president of the Amalgamated Transit Union, is also critical of the shortage, but he doesn't think that more buses will solve the problem. 

"There's too many buses out of service because there's not enough people to repair them," Callahan said. 

While no routes are being cancelled entirely, Winnipeg Transit has scaled back service on some routes because it does not have enough running buses to currently meet the demand required at peak service times.
Winnipeg Transit's schedule has been a little wonky this week. (Meaghan Ketcheson/CBC)

Transit has shuffled its fleet and at 4 a.m. Friday it released a revised schedule.

Routes affected include:

Morning rush hour:
11, 14, 16, 17, 19, 21, 22, 25, 29, 30, 34, 41, 44, 46, 54, 55, 58, 64, 66, 75, 78, 137, 160, 162, 163, 185

Afternoon rush hour:
11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 21, 22, 25, 26, 29, 40, 41, 44, 46, 54, 55, 57, 58, 59, 66, 75, 77, 162, 163, 183

Riders are advised to check the Winnipeg Transit website, call TeleBUS or contact 311 the day they plan to take a bus for the latest information on routes.


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