WINNIPEG -- Councillors on the public works committee have rejected proposed cuts to transit, aimed at meeting a tight budget target.

The committee passed a motion to fund any transit shortfall with surplus money in the department and federal infrastructure dollars.

Proposed cuts would have ended service earlier in the day and may have reduced it in non-peak times on feeder routes through neighbourhoods on afternoons and weekends.

Bus replacements were also on the chopping block.

Councillor Jeff Browaty tabled the motion.

“Winnipeg Transit is one of the most core services we provide our residents.” said Browaty

In an email to CTV News the President of the transit union, Aleem Chaudhary, said:

"We're pleased to see that councillors on the public works committee have heard the message from workers, riders and community members that cutting Transit isn't acceptable. As a growing city, we need to be investing in transit, not cutting it as we already spend the least per capita of any city of more than 500,000 in Canada. We hope that Mayor Bowman will listen to the democratic voices of the committee and reconsider the proposed cuts to transit, and end the "Year of Transit" on a high note by working to improve service for everyone."

The committee also agreed to use savings from changes in the police pension to maintain street lighting.

The committee’s recommendation is not set in stone, the motion now moves to the budget working group for consideration.

Functional Transit Winnipeg calls for improvements to service

Following the rejection of proposed cuts, Functional Transit Winnipeg (FTW) is demanding improvements to services – noting the status quo is unacceptable.

“Hundreds of Winnipeggers have been emailing and speaking to their councillors demanding transit be fundamentally improved,” said Derek Koop, President of FTW in a release.

“The IRPW meeting didn’t hear 8 hours of delegations last week to keep the status quo, they heard the citizens of Winnipeg calling for significant improvements.”

FTW said frequent, affordable and accessible transit in Winnipeg, will make it the preferred option in the city.