“We’re hearing on a daily basis from our members and our riders that Winnipeg Transit is not meeting the needs of a growing city,” said Romeo Ignacio, President of the Amalgamated Transit Union 1505. “With the City proposing to cut from a system that is already on life support, it is incredibly disheartening to hear that only $25.7 million from a ten year surplus of $180.2 million was actually used within Winnipeg Transit.”
The ATU is calling for an immediate public review of where these surpluses, which have been as high as $33.2 million in 2016, have actually been spent. The ATU is also calling on members of Winnipeg City Council to consider a policy directive change where any surplus generated by Winnipeg Transit must be kept in house, to improve Winnipeg Transit service either through purchasing new buses or increasing and enhancing service.
“This is a public transit system and if it’s struggling, then we should not be using surpluses to pad the general revenues for the City,” said James Van Gerwen, Executive Vice President for the ATU. “These surpluses are generated from fares paid by riders and the work of our members- the surplus should be used to enhance and expand service for our growing city.”
According to the City’s own budget documents, Winnipeg already spends the least per capita on Transit of any Western Canadian city with a population of over 500,000. The ATU’s call for accountability and reinvestment provides City Council with an opportunity to reverse the proposed cuts to Winnipeg Transit and to instead invest in public transit while Winnipeg continues to grow.
The Amalgamated Transit Union 1505 represents over 1,400 transit professionals in Winnipeg and Brandon.
More information on Winnipeg Transit's on-time performance, which underscores the need for additional investment, is available here: https://winnipegtransit.com/en/open-data/on-time-performance/