WINNIPEG – The City of Winnipeg is rethinking its proposed ban on singing on transit buses.
A council committee approved a proposed bylaw Wednesday aimed at improving several aspects of safety and security on Winnipeg Transit buses, including adding more transit inspectors and having police cadets patrol buses.
But it was the $100 fine for singing that grabbed headlines, which irked St. Vital Coun. Brian Mayes.
“I’m quite happy to take that out, if that’s what people are focusing on,” Mayes told Global News Thursday, adding that he never intended on banning singing on buses.
“The legal department came up with a list of things, prohibited behaviours. There are some serious things in there: you can’t urinate on a bus, you can’t defecate on a bus, you can’t write graffiti on a bus,” Mayes said. “Somewhere in there was the issue of singing. I apologize I missed that; I was focused on the major issues, which were things like getting more security so we don’t have assaults on drivers and passengers.”
The bus singing ban could be dropped from the bylaw as soon as next week.
“With some revised wording, we expect that the purpose of the proposed bylaw will be clearer that the intent is not to limit freedom of expression,” Winnipeg Transit director Dave Wardrop said in a news release later Thursday.
“The comfort and safety of transit users is our priority and the proposed bylaw is intended to establish more effective ways to deal with inappropriate behaviour. If a transit user is singing in a manner that is not disturbing fellow passengers or the transit operator, there is no issue,” Wardrop added.