ATU Local 1505 Winnipeg

Put the brakes on proposed cuts to Winnipeg Transit and get transit back on track: advocates

 Winnipeg- The Amalgamated Transit Union 1505, Budget For All and Functional Transit Winnipeg are calling on Mayor Brian Bowman and Winnipeg City Council to invest in public transit in the upcoming city budget. While the proposed budget called for major service and jobs cuts, the ATU, Budget For All and Functional Transit Winnipeg are instead calling for the city to invest more in public transit, including dedicated operational funding to introduce a 10 minute frequent service network.

“We’re hopeful that the Mayor and council have heard riders' concerns, and will implement a frequent service network, with 10 minute service on major routes,” said Derek Koop, President of Functional Transit Winnipeg. “We know that frequency is key to increasing transit accessibility for all Winnipeggers, and will build a more sustainable city by increasing ridership. All that is left is the political will to get it done.”

The proposed budget cuts come as Winnipeg Transit is already struggling with poor on time performance as well as record numbers of pass ups. The ATU, which represents Winnipeg Transit operators and maintenance professionals, called on the City to properly invest in Transit.

“We’re very concerned that the proposed budget would reduce cleaning on shelters and cut operations and maintenance jobs while the City is looking at the transit master plan,” said James Van Gerwen, ATU 1505 Vice President. “We have a city that is growing and we need to be investing more in transit to grow our public transit system in order to fight climate change and to build our city for everyone.”

As part of the calls to invest in public transit, Budget For All has prepared a pledge to Protect Public Transit for St. Boniface Councillor and Public Works Chair Matt Allard, who has identified himself as a supporter of public transit. The pledge has a values statement recognizing the inherent value of public transit and includes a pledge for Councillor Allard and others to promise not to vote in favour of a budget that cuts funding for public transit, or limits growth in spending below the rate of inflation, which, as proposed, would cut public transit service. The pledge for the Councillor will be presented to his office at 12pm on March 2nd and Budget For All will update the public should Councillor Allard chose to sign the pledge to protect public transit.

“We think it is crucial that councillors hop on board and join the growing number of cities who are making major investments in transit, including free transit, instead of furthering the gap by cuts,” said Chantale Garand, a Budget For All representative. “We anticipate no problem in having Councillor Allard publicly pledge his support to investing in Transit beyond the rate of inflation.”

After a short rally at City Hall 12pm, members of the aforementioned groups will take to bus stops and busses to hand out flyers encouraging transit riders to tell their councillors to invest in transit.


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