The impact COVID-19 is having on Winnipeg Transit revenue

By | September 9, 2020

WINNIPEG — The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have an impact on the City of Winnipeg’s finances, according to a new report.

The city’s Financial Status and Forecast reports, released on Wednesday, said the shortfall for all city departments was $29.9 million as of June 30, 2020.

Winnipeg Transit is also reporting a shortfall of $29.1 million, which is an increase from the previous quarterly report, which predicted a year-end shortfall of $26.1 million.

The City of Winnipeg temporarily laid off 253 transit operators in April due to a decline in ridership related to the COVID-19 pandemic and reduced transit service. The drivers were rehired in July and August, and full transit service has resumed.

According to the report, the city said without taking strategic measures during the pandemic, the projected shortfall for all city departments would have been $67.5 million.

“We can see through the second quarter of 2020 that the City’s COVID-19 Crisis Cash Flow Management Plan has been effective at stabilizing the City’s operations during this pandemic,” said Councillor Scott Gillingham, chairperson of the standing policy committee on finance, in a statement. “However, we also know the pandemic has caused a significant drop in transit ridership and revenues for Winnipeg Transit. The financial situation for Winnipeg Transit will be an ongoing concern as we continue to assess the long term impact the pandemic may have on transit ridership levels.”

The city said it is looking at the impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on city businesses, employment, housing, and other areas. The analysis said there is a significant decline in employment across most industries, but accommodation, food services, and transportation are being hit particularly hard.

A decline in expected population growth is also predicted, as the report is showing a decline in immigration. The city is now estimating the population of Winnipeg by the end of the year will be 771,400, a drop of 3,300 compared to the previous forecast.

The reports will be discussed at the standing policy committee on finance on September 15.

CTV’s Touria Izri will have more on what the state of the city’s finances mean for Winnipeggers tonight on CTV News at 6 p.m. This story will be updated.

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