News / Winnipeg

Petition to keep Manitoba transit funding on course garners support

A transit advocate said a campaign to keep the 50-50 provincial-municipal funding agreement has received "enormous positive response."

Organizations that have supported the FTW campaign include Independent Living Resource Centre, Transition Winnipeg, University of Winnipeg Students Association, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505, Transportation Options Network For Seniors, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Bike Winnipeg and the Green Action Centre.

Metro / File

Organizations that have supported the FTW campaign include Independent Living Resource Centre, Transition Winnipeg, University of Winnipeg Students Association, Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505, Transportation Options Network For Seniors, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Bike Winnipeg and the Green Action Centre.

More than 1,500 Manitobans are calling on the provincial government to keep funding bus service, as the legislature prepares to vote on a transit grant guarantee this week.

A petition calling on the provincial government to stay on course has collected 1,454 signatures. Additionally, a campaign led by advocates Functional Transit Winnipeg (FTW) has prompted more than 283 individuals to send emails directly to their MLAs, asking them to recommit to covering 50 per cent of municipal transit costs moving forward.

The group has been campaigning against Bill 36, the budget implantation and tax statues amendment act, which would end a guaranteed 50-50 cost-sharing for municipal transit services that has been in place since the ‘70s. It is expected to go to a final vote in the legislature this week.

“We’ve received enormous positive response to our campaign,” said FTW chairperson, Joseph Kornelsen in a statement, adding he’s heard from Manitobans “passionately expressing their growing disappointment” in what he calls “the low priority” transit is being given in the province.

Recently, the city’s finance committee contemplated increasing fares beyond the regular five-cent annual bump in order to make up for an expected budgetary shortfall. Potential service reductions have also been discussed.

Kornelsen has previously told Metro the loss of predictable funding and the associated budgetary pressure prevents the city from pursuing improvements to Winnipeg Transit, which has been losing riders.

One Winnipegger who supports FTW’s campaign, Jackson Miller, said he’s reduced his reliance on transit “because of how unreliable it is becoming.”

That’s the kind of thing Kornelsen is adamant could be remedied with higher frequency service—which Winnipeg Transit was tasked with exploring city-wide in June—but such improvements would come at a cost he doubts the city can meet with less funding.

“The end of the guarantee really threatens what is already a bare-bones service,” he told Metro in a previous interview.

More on Metronews.ca