Winnipeg Transit director should be able to put extra buses on the street when needed: report

File / Global News

The power to quickly put extra buses on the road to meet the demand of large public events may be in Winnipeg’s future.

The Winnipeg Public Service has recommended that the Director of Transit should have the authority to make additional transit services available to meet extra ridership demands.

Funding for the proposal – which is on the agenda for the city’s May 28 Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works meeting – is intended to be included in the 2020 operating budget.

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“Large events create excess demand and passing up situations on regular transit service,” according to the report.

“Scheduled frequency on transit routes at peak times is based on the expected passenger loads for regular routes, and therefore cannot account for surges in passenger numbers due to large events.”

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Some of those events include the Canada Day fireworks, concerts and hockey downtown, football games at IG field and Whiteout parties.

“This swell of passenger volumes overwhelms the regular transit service being provided, often preventing regular transit users from boarding buses. Buses become so full with large event passengers that regular passengers are passed up.”

In the past, city council had to directly authorize putting extra buses on the road.

“The Transit Department does not have the authority to add the required additional service for large events without direct approval from Council, as there is a budgetary impact associated with the provision of the additional service,” reads the report.

“The Transit Department is therefore requesting that Council delegate to the Director of Transit the authority to add additional service for large events.”

It’s anticipated the extra buses will cost $850,000, and transit said they hope to recoup that cost with increased ridership on buses on event days.

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