'Quite surprised and shocked': Transit Plus users voice concerns over changes to winter-only service
WINNIPEG -- As the winter weather has hit Winnipeg, the ground has started to ice up.
That can make it difficult for most people to navigate, but the challenge can be even greater for those who rely on Transit Plus.
Transit Plus is part of the city's public transit system that transports people door-to-door who are unable to use the fixed routes throughout the city.
Some users are only granted service during the winter and that has usually been from Oct. 15 to Apr. 15.
However, the date this year has been pushed back to Dec. 15.
It comes after city council gave Transit Plus the authority to determine when winter service can start and end.
David Kron, who is the executive director of the Cerebral Palsy Association of Manitoba, said the date change came as a shock to him.
"On Friday I heard from one of our members that he was quite surprised and shocked that he phoned to book his handi-transit. He's got winter service only and he wasn't allowed to because the date had been changed," said Kron. "He had to pay his own taxiway to work because there was no way he could traverse all the ice on the sidewalks safely."
Kron said he liked the way the rule was before and doesn't like the change.
"The law of averages, if you have a freak snowstorm before Oct. 15 it's pretty freaky, and even if there is a snowstorm in the middle of May, it is kind of freaky…it's a reasonable accommodation for everybody."
He thinks the city should at least warn people about the changes before it happens.
According to the city, a reminder was provided to customers on Oct. 14.
A spokesperson for the city also said it is implementing the winter service starting Oct. 30.
"This information is being communicated to Transit Plus customers today (Thursday) and has been posted to the Transit Plus website," the spokesperson said in an email to CTV News.
They added the date was originally changed because a review of the snow accumulation showed it was not traditional for snow to stay on the ground longer than three days in October.
The December date was chosen because over the last ten years, "there has not been any significant snow accumulation that reflect winter conditions until approximately mid-December."
The spokesperson also noted the manager of the client service division can determine when winter service is allowed.
"The Manager is able to adjust both the start date and the end based on snow accumulation."