With Winnipeg’s municipal election coming up in less than a month, a key issue has emerged in the race for councillor in the Daniel McIntyre ward: transit.

“I know people that are on assistance and yeah, it’s a struggle for them,” said bus rider Paul Moline.

After the province changed funding, Winnipeg’s city council voted to raise bus fares to cover costs.

Daniel McIntyre councillor Cindy Gilroy, who is running for re-election, voted for the hike, but got the city to look into the concept of low income bus passes.

“A low income bus pass would really help all residents, I think, that come from low income families to help deal with making sure they have access to transit, to make sure they have access to get to their jobs or schools,” she said.

Social and environmental advocate Josh Brandon said the cost of transit was the tipping point for him to run for councillor in the ward. Though he supports the idea of a low income bus pass, he wants to get rid of the fare hike.

“It puts transit out of reach for a lot of low income people and makes it harder for working families to choose environmentally-friendly forms of transportation,” he said.

The ward’s third councillor candidate, restaurant owner Sarowar Miah, also wants to see the fares decrease. He said low income riders should get a break on transit just like university students.

Miah believes this would cut down on people skipping out on their fares.

“They take the ride but they can’t pay the fare, so transit, they’re losing this fare,” he said.

The City of Winnipeg is conducting an operational review of transit service.

- With files from Jeff Keele