Free Wi-Fi coming to select Winnipeg buses

File / Global News

A new year-long initiative will see free Wi-Fi hit 12 rotating buses across the city.

Mayor Brian Bowman was on site to announce the pilot project Thursday, where he called it a step into the future for Winnipeg Transit.

The Wi-Fi will rotate across 12 clearly-marked buses on varying routes.

READ MORE: Winnipeg’s New Flyer Industries plugging in to Transit fleet upgrade

The $300,000 of funding for the Wi-Fi will come from the city’s 2016 Innovation Capital Fund.

“This pilot project is an important step to take to not only improve the quality of the service we provide transit riders, but also improve the overall function of the system,” said Bowman.

“Being innovative in how we deliver services and apply innovative solutions should not end with transit.”

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The system has no impact on transit’s current operating budget, which could potentially be pressed for funds once the carbon tax takes effect on Sept. 1.

READ MORE: Manitoba businesses to be taxed or credited for carbon emission levels

Transit already saw a fare increase at the start of 2018.

When asked Wednesday about what the tax will mean for riders, Bowman said his hands are tied by the provincial government.

“There are annual increases,” Bowman said. “Certainly this year, based on the changing provincial funding, we did need to increase fares more than anyone wanted to.”

The free Wi-Fi will include security measures to make sure passengers don’t abuse the system.

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