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Winnipeg Transit proposes faster ‘Blue Line’ routes when Southwest Transit corridor opens

Snow on a Winnipeg Transit bus stop sign.
Snow on a Winnipeg Transit bus stop sign. Shane Gibson/Global News

South Winnipeg residents may see a radical shift in their bus routes when the Southwest Transit corridor opens in the spring, in the hopes of “more frequent, faster and more reliable transit service.”

The city of Winnipeg will consider what Winnipeg Transit is calling The BLUE Line, a “spine-and-feeder” network that will run along the entire length of the Southwest Transit corridor, and then down through the city into St. Norbert.

The Blue Line, as illustrated by Winnipeg Transit. The line will follow the Southwest Transit corridor and then continue down into St. Norbert.
The Blue Line, as illustrated by Winnipeg Transit. The line will follow the Southwest Transit corridor and then continue down into St. Norbert. Winnipeg Transit

The way the BLUE Line will work means neighbourhood buses – called feeder routes – will work their way through their communities and then connect with the BLUE Line, which will run up Pembina Highway, along the corridor and eventually connect to downtown. There will also be an offshoot for the University of Manitoba.

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“Passengers will catch their neighbourhood feeder bus, take it to a BLUE Line station, and transfer to a BLUE Line bus, instead of waiting for one specific bus,” said Winnipeg Transit in the proposal.

READ MORE: Low income bus pass coming to Winnipeg Transit

The changes will increase frequency and service reliability, said Transit, and riders will see an average of two or three minute wait times when they hit the BLUE Line.

The feeder routes’ wait times will be between 5 to 8 minutes long, on average. In ideal conditions, travel times will improve by up to 10 minutes, says Transit, and will help avoid congestion during traffic rushes, buses that skip stops  due to being too full, or requiring passengers to wait for a specific bus to get them home.

Several routes will be changed or eliminated to make way for the new system, says Transit, and they will need to hire 38 more bus drivers and 11 support staff. The total cost of the changes is pegged at $2.5 million the first year, and about $3.5 million for the subsequent three years.

The administrative report will go before the city’s infrastructure committee Nov. 4. The changes would be implemented in April of 2020. Read the whole report below.

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