Transit union calls on province to help make bus service more affordable
Published Wednesday, January 24, 2018 5:33PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, January 24, 2018 6:51PM CST
Standing at a bus stop on Main Street with her three-month-old, new mom Carolyn Massan says the 25 cent bus fare hike this year is a hardship.
"Currently on EIA, so there's only so much I could buy for myself,” said Massan.
Fellow bus rider Mary-Ann Constant works casually, and says the increase is tough to swallow.
"It takes a lot of money, it's been a lot of money,” said Constant.
Winnipeg Transit says it had to raise fares to $2.95 because the Pallister government ended a 50-50 cost sharing deal, opting to hand over a lump sum of funding instead.
Now the Amalgamated Transit Union is calling on the province to help make bus service more affordable and safer.
"They have to step up, they need to in order for people to be able to afford," said ATU local President Aleem Chaudhrey.
In the wake of the fare hike, the city is studying the idea of a low income monthly bus pass. The transit union says the province should help the city pay for this, to make it a reality.
The ATU says the cost of each pass would be based on one’s income. Chaudhrey says it would also reduce fare disputes between passengers and drivers.
"Nobody knows how much you paid for it right it's a pass, they're not shamed, they don't feel guilt so they don't take it out on anybody," said Chaudhrey.
The province says it's up to the city to set bus fare prices. In a statement it says:
"Operating funding is now provided through a $115 million single, unconditional operating grant that provides Winnipeg with a fair say on local decisions. The city is responsible for their own budget decisions and the province does not decide how to allocate these funds."
No matter how it's funded, Carolyn Massan hopes she can get a break on her bus pass down the road.
"It's good to have that extra cash in your pocket,” she said.