New rapid bus lines could mean massive changes for Winnipeg Transit
The completion of the southwest rapid transit line to the University of Manitoba could bring massive changes to routes, funding and staffing for Winnipeg Transit.
Transit is asking councillors on the city's infrastructure renewal and public works committee to approve the changes, included in a report delivered to the committee on Tuesday, and name the completed busway the Blue Line.
The proposed Blue Line would connect downtown Winnipeg with the U of M and form the "spine" of the network, while neighbourhood routes in southwest Winnipeg would run feeder buses.
The $467-million rapid transit line is scheduled to open in April 2020.
Plans for the new system would see passengers transfer buses more often but get them to their destinations faster, with more frequent service and fewer "pass-ups" — loaded buses that drive by passengers because they cannot take on more riders, Winnipeg Transit officials say.
"The idea is that if somebody is going anywhere along the Blue Line, or if they're transferring to a feeder route at one of the stations, they don't need to check the schedule anymore," Bjorn Radstrom, Winnipeg Transit's manager of service development, told reporters on Tuesday.
"They just show up at the stop [and] the bus comes every three to four minutes."
Radstrom says the plan should also make bus trips to get to the rapid transit line much faster.
"The feeder routes themselves shouldn't be subject to much delay at all, because they're not operating through all the congested conditions downtown, on Pembina Highway, through Confusion Corner and whatnot," he said.