Councillor pitches simplified or fare-free transit for Winnipeg

A Winnipeg Transit bus. Shane Gibson/Global News

Winnipeg is one step closer to considering affordable — or even free — transit fares for all.

A motion by Coun. Vivian Santos (Point Douglas) asking the city’s administration to develop a report on simplified and fare-free transit was passed unanimously Tuesday at the community committee.

The motion will be now forwarded to the Standing Policy Committee on Infrastructure Renewal and Public Works.

Santos, also Winnipeg’s Deputy Mayor, said the report is the first step in helping Winnipeggers who need transit but are struggling financially due to the pandemic.

Coun. Vivian Santos. Global News / File

“With a simplified transit fare and a fare-free system, we can better meet the needs of all Winnipeggers, especially seniors and families living on a fixed income,” said Santos.

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“This proposed report is a necessary step to investigate how all levels of government can work together to spur the Winnipeg local economy and help our families who need it the most.

“Without a functioning transit system that is affordable and accessible, transportation will continue to be a barrier for economic and social opportunities. A simplified and fare-free system will increase ridership on public transportation and reduce the impacts of climate change and help reduce income inequality gaps for residents.”

As of last month, kids are able to ride the bus for free if they’re riding with a fare-paying customer.

This applies for children ages 11 and under, while previously only children ages five and under were able to ride for free.

Click to play video: 'Regular transit service to resume'
Regular transit service to resume

Mayor Brian Bowman said Wednesday he hasn’t seen the motion, but said the city has invested “tens of millions more in the most recent budget” for transit.

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“With respect to additional things that we can do for transit riders … I will look at motions as they come forward.”

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