WINNIPEG — The City of Winnipeg said they are continuing to monitor transit ridership and the demand for city buses, one day after a new schedule change came into effect.
During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Jay Shaw, the manager of Winnipeg’s emergency operations centre, said the city is doing this to determine if any further adjustments are necessary.
“Transit is focused on monitoring passenger level patterns to determine if any overcrowding is intermittent or if it is a regular occurrence, so they can make adjustments where required,” Shaw said.
“If we start to see overcrowding patterns develop, efforts will be made to adjust the service to spread out the passenger loads.”
Methods being used include counters on buses, on street inspector observation, bus operator reporting, and control centre checks.
Reduced transit service was implemented Monday in response to a 70 per cent decrease in ridership in March compared to the same time in 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic is being blamed for the drop in ridership. A total of 253 bus operators were temporarily laid off from the city due to reduced demand.
Mayor Brian Bowman said the reduction in transit service will save the city approximately $1 million per month.
“Transit is heavily subsidized, as you know increasingly, by property taxpayers, as well as riders,” he said. “It’s a heavily subsidized service to begin with, and the losses right now are in the range of $5 million per month.”
Shaw said while overcrowding was observed on some routes, Transit had spare buses available Monday to help alleviate overcrowding.
However, he added it’s the passenger’s responsibility to follow physical distancing measures on buses.
“If a full bus approaches your stop, you should step back and wait for the next bus,” Shaw said. “Bus drivers are not responsible for enforcing social distancing on buses.”
Bowman added those who are feeling sick should not ride the bus and instead stay home.
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