Shelters needed, but shouldn’t come at bus garage expense: Winnipeg transit union

Mayor Brian Bowman makes a transit pledge Monday.
Mayor Brian Bowman makes a transit pledge Monday. Nikki Jhutti/Global News

The local Winnipeg transit union says it welcomes a pledge by Mayor Brian Bowman to build more warm roofs over transit users’ heads, but that shouldn’t come at the cost of their own warm roof.

Bowman made numerous transit pledges Monday, including diverting $4.1 million to replace the roofs on bus garages to build 55 heated bus shelters instead.

“I  think it’s important we find ways to keep more transit passengers warm and dry while waiting for their bus, rather than keeping our buses warm and dry while parked overnight,” he said.

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Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1505 president Aleem Chaudhary said they support more shelters, but not at the cost of “necessary facility upgrades.”

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“The city will only have to pay for [it] later in the form of future upgrades or increased maintenance costs,” said Chaudhary.

“Improvements to our transit system, be in the form of station comforts, increased frequency and enhanced reliability should come from renewed, dedicated funding.”

Bowman also pledged a low-income bus pass, something that poverty activists have been advocating for years.

WATCH: Winnipeg transit users rally against proposed fare hike

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Winnipeg transit users rally against proposed fare hike

However, there were no numbers attached to that pledge in terms of expected decrease of revenue for transit or how it would be funded.

“We’re pleased to see the mayor renewing his commitment for a low-income bus pass in Winnipeg, which we have been on the record as supporting,” said Chaudhary.

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“We are interested to know the details of the program, including if the province will play a role in funding the program.”

Chaudhary said if Bowman wins the election, he hopes to see the mayor and council push the province to restore their 50/50 funding program for transit.

Other promises include the implementation of a bus stop accessibility program, 40 new transit buses, and $1.2 million for new bus fleet cameras and additional security.