Transit deficit attributed to frozen funding, ridership decrease
Published Tuesday, September 12, 2017 6:30PM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, September 12, 2017 6:53PM CST
Halle Heim takes the bus to and from university four days a week, and the idea of paying more for bus fare doesn’t sit well with her.
“I pay for my bus pass, and text books are expensive, tuition’s expensive. It’s already pretty pricey to take the bus,” Heim said.
But fares could be going up. Winnipeg Transit is facing a $10-million deficit. The city said the majority of the deficit is largely due to frozen funding levels from the province.
READ MORE: Transit fare hikes, service cuts could be on the horizon in Winnipeg: report
Finance chair Scott Gillingham said the shortfall is also attributed to another roadblock.
“We see that because ridership numbers have decreased, revenue decreases, so there’s an additional cost or deficit that the city has to pick up,” said Gillingham.
According to Winnipeg Transit, cities across North America have seen ridership decreases, and lower gas prices that have led to more people driving may be to blame.
Board chair of Functional Transit Winnipeg Joseph Kornelsen said cities in the U.S. with High Frequency Bus Service – as opposed to Bus Rapid Transit or Light Rail Transit – haven’t seen numbers go down.
“There is an appetite for taking transit in North America, you just gotta invest in it right,” Kornelsen said. “We need more money for service because that is what leads to the real ridership gains.”
For now, student Halle Heim is just hoping she won’t have to fork over more cash.
“It’s probably the main transportation for scholars, so keeping it at a low cost is probably going to keep their popularity up.”
It’s still unknown how much fares could be going up.
The finance committee will be meeting Friday and is expected to discuss the deficit.