We were extremely disappointed in Council’s decision to go ahead and raise Winnipeg Transit fares rather than finding the resources to make up for the shortfall created by the province deciding to pull out of the 50/50 funding agreement elsewhere. They had other options. They have promised to study a low-income bus pass. SPCW provided such a study from 2016 to the Mayor and Council last week. Even if they simply adopted our study and passed a motion to implement a low-income bus pass immediately, it will take time to implement. The transit fare hike is set to kick in on January 1st, 2018. Nevertheless, we are urging Mayor and Council to do just that. It is really the only thing they can do to try and mitigate as much of the harm this increase/cut to people living in poverty’s monthly budget as possible. And, which no one disputes, will in the long-run really help these same people. As long as the cost is truly affordable and the qualifying bar is not set too high that is. We hope to work with Council to guard against this as they move to implementation. You can find Kate Kehler’s full comments to council here.
However, we have not given up on a better and more affordable public transit system for all. We will continue to work with Functional Transit and our coalition of over 100 partners (so many signed on that we could only fit a about a third of them on the poster) Please consider becoming a member of either or both Functional Transit and Social Planning Council to keep up to date. You can, of course, keep checking us out on facebook and on twitter.