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Winnipeg Transit looking at shatter proof glass to limit bus shelter vandalism

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Winnipeg Transit is looking to try something new as the city has dealt with a high number of vandalized bus shelters in recent years.

Several shelters along Main Street are without glass and it is just a snap shot of what happens throughout Winnipeg.

In 2021, there were 267 bus shelters that had glass broken, followed by 361 in 2022 and so far in 2023, there 294 that have been smashed.

Currently, there are 115 shelters without glass, which is down from the 142 at the end of 2022.

The damage is costing the city around $250,000 a year in repairs, which is leading transit to change its approach.

Transit says it will be testing out shatter proof glass at one or two locations in Winnipeg.

"It's an incredible material. It's virtually impossible to break. We're going to piloting one or two shelters using this material, we're not going to really identify where the bus shelters are," said Coun. Janice Lukes, who is the chair of the public works committee.

Clifton Parenteau takes the bus and likes the idea of using the shatter proof glass, especially when the weather turns.

"It's cold December and January, that wind chill and stuff (can be) bitter on the face," said Parenteau. "(Would be) beautiful to have those bus shelters around."

Transit doesn't know why there is more vandalism to bus shelters, but it does coincide with the crisis of people living in them.

"Nobody would design glass houses for people to live in, so it shouldn't be surprising that they end up broken," said Marion Willis, the founder and executive director of St. Boniface Street Links.

She said more efforts are needed to get people out of bus shelters. Street Links will be opening up a 24/7 safe space starting at the beginning of December.

"That can't open soon enough. We need to get our people on this side of the river out of the transit shelters and into some place where it's warm."

"I know this year the city is going to have a different approach to bus shelters because we have the 24/7 safe space. So I'm really hoping things will take a turn for the better," said Lukes.

The shatter proof glass will not be cheap as transit says they can cost two and a half to four times as much as glass.

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