Winnipeg’s transit union is concerned for its drivers because a budget deficit may lead to bus fare increases. The union said fare increases could lead to more people not paying their fares.

Winnipeg Transit is facing a $10.6-million deficit. Fare hikes and service cuts are being considered heading into 2018 budget deliberations.

The majority of the budget shortfall is being attributed to frozen funding levels from the province. Lower ridership resulting in less revenue is also being blamed for part of the deficit.

Finance Chair Scott Gillingham said no changes will be made in 2017, but anything is on the table for 2018.

“We’re going to have to make adjustments, and determine with this new reality, how to deliver the best transit service possible in the most efficient manner,” Gillingham said.

Winnipeg’s transit union said fare hikes could be a hit to more than just a rider’s wallet.

Acting president of the Amalgamated Transit Union in Winnipeg Aleem Chaudhary said an increase in fares leads to an increase in fare evaders.

“Then there’s confrontations when the drivers ask them and they can’t pay the fare, and that leads to assaults, and most of our assaults are caused from fare evasion,” said Chaudhary.

The city said any changes to transit would require council approval.